I live in an agricultural area of central Washington State. There are orchards, vineyards, and vast fields of fruit, in which are grown apples, peaches, pairs, apricots, cherries, and grapes.
What comes to mind is John 15:1-10. “Bearing fruit” is mentioned six times in this passage. It is clear that Jesus wants his followers to bear spiritual fruit. There is, however, a requirement for doing so. Nine times the word “abide” is used. Verses 4-5 say, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is who bears much fruit…” Abiding means to stay or remain in an intimate relationship with God. Also, bearing fruit is a sign that one is a true disciple of Jesus (verse 8). Colossians 1:10 adds, “to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work…”
Just as there are physical fruits in orchards and vineyards, so there are also spiritual fruits in the lives of those who abide in Christ. They are listed in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
There is another kind of fruit spoken of in Hebrews 12:11. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” As we are in submission to the Lord’s righteous discipline and being transformed into his image, our lives will be fruitful. As a result, “the righteous flourish like the palm tree…They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him”(Psalm 92:12-15). There is no age limit for bearing fruit. As there is a harvest of physical fruit, there can also be “a harvest of righteousness sown in peace by those who make peace”(James 3:18).
In order for good fruit to continue in fields or orchards, pruning must be done for new growth in the coming season. John 15:2 says, “every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” God wants to prune us to be more productive-to cut off unnecessary and unproductive hindrances in our lives, so that we can focus more on what he wants us to do that bears more fruit.
Before fruitfulness can occur, “we must be aware of the things that are hindrances to that happening…It is a limiting thought to think that the ‘trash’ in our lives is no big deal. Even though God has forgiven us and his grace is transforming us, the garbage in our lives can still get in the way of relationships with others and God (Clark, p. 117)”
Our culture today desperately needs fruit bearing Christians. Let us all as disciples of Christ be “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and his leaf does not wither”(Psalm 1:3).