...while every branch that does bear fruit he trims clean so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2b NIV
We don't usually ring in the New Year with thoughts of pruning and discipline. No, it's usually rung in with celebration, feasting, dancing and dreams of prosperity. More, if you will, than the previous year.
More. It's my One Word for 2019 that God's given me to focus on. More. "More what?" I asked.
"More 'becoming.' More good fruit," was God's reply.
And then he gave me this little lesson:
Children do not "become" on their own. Yes, they are born with specific DNA from their parents, but how they "become" a mature adult is greatly learned by the example of their parents/caregivers. They're taught (or not) from birth about the principles of a good life: how to love; how obedience bears better fruit than rebellion.
Witnessing our own adult children raising their families, I can see the good fruit they are bearing. I look at them through the eyes of a mother, heart swelling with pride, knowing that because of (and despite) my love and discipline, these children are my glory here on earth. They represent years of love raining down on them and their good fruit is a testament of that love. The fruit of their lives is my joy and glory.
They didn't choose to be my children, but rather, my husband and I chose to birth them; made a conscious decision to bear them and allow God to create them within and through us. So it is when God chooses us to be grafted into his family.
We don't choose Him. Scripture says Jesus chose us.
You did not choose me, but I chose you…that you might go and bear fruit - fruit that will last… John 15:16 NIV
Our only choice is whether to obey Him, be pruned and molded by His loving discipline, and remain in Him...or not. If we do, and bear good fruit from remaining in that relationship, we become His glory and make His joy complete.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4 NIV
THIS is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8 NIV
Just as we bless our children with more good things because we love them, how much more does God want to bless us with more? More of His love and joy and good fruit?
We cannot force the fruit-bearing process. We cannot will fruit to grow any more than we can will our bodies to grow more or less by wishing it so. No, as our physical growth is dependent upon our physical DNA so our spiritual growth is dependent upon our relationship with God alone. We must remain in relationship with Him, through Christ, in order to bear any good fruit, let alone, MORE.
We bear more fruit by remaining attached to the branch (Jesus) in an outflowing of love, one to another. In this way, their (God's/ Jesus') joy becomes complete. Their joy is made complete through us, in us, to others. More fruit, more joy, more completeness comes as we remain (abide) in relationship with Christ. Make Christ our home. When we emulate His love for us to others, we produce more fruit and THIS becomes God's glory, God's joy!
What's your word for 2019? Has God given you a thought, a word, an idea that he wants you to focus on these coming months? I find it helps and gives me a starting point every January. Here's where I learned about that discipline.
God, You are a good, good Father. You desire only good gifts for us, Your children. Remind us to remain attached to You, to welcome You into our hearts as we go about our day. Help us to welcome Your loving discipline as part of our growing, so we may bear much fruit, bringing You glory, honor, and joy. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.