The growth of a Christian has been compared to that of a tree in several places in the Bible. In Psalms 1:1-3, David says, “…He shall be LIKE A TREE planted by rivers of water that bring forth its fruit in its season….” David compared a man who delighted in God to a tree whose end is to bear fruit and prosper in all his ways. This reveals if the tree does not bear fruit it shall not prosper. Likewise, if a Christian does not bear fruit, he shall not prosper in his endeavors and may even earn condemnation. Let’s take a look at Matthew 21:18-19.
“Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again”. Immediately the fig tree withered away.”
Comparing Christians to the fig tree, we learn that Jesus Christ expects us to bear fruit at all times. He was hungry and expected the tree to have fruit for Him. The Bible says in epistle to Timothy that we should be ready in season and out of season. Jesus expected the fig tree to be filled with fruit but found nothing but leaves. In the end, he cursed the fig tree. Likewise, Christians must be ready always for we do not know when the Lord shall return to the earth. We must bear fruit always.
Bearing fruit onto God is our test of true salvation. It is what distinguishes us from the world. We cannot claim to be Christians and continue in fornication, adultery, stealing, murder and cheating. These are characteristics of the people of the world and as such we must not engage in such practices. Also in Proverbs 11:30, the Bible says that the fruit of the righteous is a TREE OF LIFE. This reveals that the fruit we bear is life onto others. People can receive the life of God through us. Having leaves on your tree as a Christian is important because it gives healing onto others but Christ expects us to produce fruit for Him.
Before we can bear fruit as Christians, we need to receive the word of God and cultivate it. Many receive the word of God but fail to cultivate it. Let’s take a look at Matthew 13:3-9.
“Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!””
In this scripture, Jesus spoke to the people in a parable. (A parable is a story presenting spiritual truth in a physical sense. They cannot be understood by the natural mind, they are spiritually discerned. Truths are revealed from parables but doctrines cannot be built on parables.) Jesus explained this parable later to the disciples saying that the seed is the word of God. The word of God has been presented in many ways in the Bible but Jesus uses seed to emphasis its ability to give life. A seed is what gives life to a tree. In our scripture, many of the seeds did not produce because they were not cultivated. The word of God can even die in our hearts if we do not cultivate it.
Cultivating the word of God in our hearts is about 2 Timothy 3:16
- We must build our principles on the word of God by making it our doctrine. It must become our way of life. When we hear the word, we need to make it our standard for life.
- We need to allow the word of God to rebuke us when we go wrong. God says in Revelation 3:19 that He rebukes those He loves. We must remain open the rebuke of the Lord concerning our lives.
- We need to allow the word of God to correct us and help change our mindset concerning all things. When we hear the word of God, we must abandon our own ideas and adopt what God says. Our human minds cannot comprehend what God does and therefore we should change our mindset. Many do not allow the word of God to work on their minds but true repentance means a change of mind. We need to repent whenever we hear the word of God.
- We need to live by the instruction of the word. God’s instructions are life to our souls and hence should be our daily bread. We must stop emulating others and start taking our instructions from the word of God. The word of God contains so many instructions which are life to our souls. We need to live by the instructions of the word of God.
Living by the doctrine, rebuke, correction and instruction of the word of God is our key to bearing fruit. There are many kinds of fruit we bear as Christians and it is imperative that we bear all kinds.
1. Holiness. In Romans 6:22, the Bible says, “…you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life”.Holiness is a fruit we bear as Christians. Without holiness, we cannot call ourselves Christians at all. It is the fruit that will lead us to everlasting life. Sowing and cultivating the word of God will produce holiness in us.
2. Winning others to Christ. In Romans 1:13, Paul says, “…that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles”. Paul said that winning the Romans was having fruit among them. Winning souls is a means of producing fruit. Moving from house to house, from city to city, from country to country and from continent to continent is a means of having fruit all over the world for Jesus. [READ 13 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE A SOUL WINNER]
3. Engaging in good works. In Colossians 1:10, Paul says, “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God”. Good works refer to giving to the poor and hungry, contributing to church growth, engaging in the cleaning of the church and helping others. These are all fruits we bear as Christians. Also in Roman 15:25:28, Paul said that it was the duty of the people in Macedonia and Achaia to minister material things to those in Jerusalem. Engaging in good works is mandatory for a Christian.
4. Praising God is also a fruit we bear (Hebrews 13:15).
5. Christian character. The fruit of the Spirit is a result of the sowing the word of God and cultivating it (Galatians 5:22).
Bonus: Failing to bear fruit as a Christian is very dangerous and an obvious disqualification from the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to produce fruits onto Christ and leaves for the healing of nations.
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