The Fruit is Up to Him

"I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me." John 15:5

I don't know about you, but it's easy for me to leave off the last phrase of that verse as I go about my days. I know I'm a branch in the Lord's vineyard. I know I need to abide in Christ through His Word and prayer. I know I need to produce fruit, and I expect that fruit to come in every situation in which I am being the branch, abiding in Jesus. 

Sounds good...or does it? After all, the Bible is clear that what we sow, we will reap (Galatians 6:7). In Matthew, the Bible speaks about a harvest (fruit) that will come from the believer's life...some thirty, sixty, or one hundred fold. In fact, Matthew 3:8 says that we are to "produce fruit in keeping with repentance". Psalms 1 likens the believer to a tree that bears fruit in its season. These are not the only verses that talk about the fruit produced in the lives of the children of God. And with all this fruit growing, we can start to believe that the fruit producing is actually up to us. We can begin to believe that if we do XYZ, it will result in the beautiful fruit we were hoping for. If we abide, we will receive the fruit of our labors. If we witness, they will come to Christ. If we serve our husbands sacrificially, they will notice and serve us right back in the same way. If we are kind to our enemies, they will humbly apologize and recognize they were wrong. And...this is a biggie for me....if we train up our kids faithfully in the ways of the Lord, they will come to love Jesus with all of their hearts. 

It all sounds good...but we know, even from our own experiences, that we often do not reap the fruit we were expecting. The loved one still isn't saved, the enemy is still not a friend, and our children have not been regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit. We begin to doubt our "abiding", we begin to question the truths we have clung to, and we sink deeper into a sea of uncertainty...wondering if we've just been big failures all along and have "messed up" those in our lives that we hold most dear! 

The truth is, we've forgotten the last phrase of John 15:5. Jesus says "you can do nothing without me". The fruit wasn't ours to grow. That job belongs to the Lord. Paul said it quite bluntly in I Corinthians 3:7, "So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." 

About 15 years ago, I was on the phone with my lips quivering and tears pooling in my eyes. I felt like I was doing everything I could to obey the Lord in regards to parenting  and nothing seemed to be working. It was as if all my efforts were bouncing off a brick wall and hitting me back in the face. I was at the end of my rope and confused. My dear mama spoke words of life to my heart as she echoed God's words: "Kristin, God does not call you to produce fruit in your son's life. That is HIS job. He simply calls you to be faithful." 

As the truth of her words sunk in, the burden I was carrying began to lift. My perspective began to change. I realized my focus had been on the fruit and not on the Giver of the fruit. I was not depending on Jesus, I was depending on my efforts to produce a desired effect. 

What she shared with me that day I have preached to myself hundreds of times since and shared with many other sisters in Christ along the way. In my own life and many others, the Lord used her faithfulness in speaking the truth to produce the fruit of right thinking and deeper trust and dependence on the Lord. 

And...just maybe...the Lord will use His Word and her words to encourage you, today, to be faithful and leave the fruit in His hands! 

"Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up." 

                                                                                                           Galatians 6:9


Jaz said…
Thank you dear sister for this encouragement.
I needed to hear this.
Sarah Brumley said…
Oh my goodness, Kristin, this is so rich for me today. It’s so hard sometimes to remember that it all comes in God’s plan and timing and not ours. Thank you, and your wonderful mom, for this reminder! Miss you and love you! - Sarah
Kristin said…
Praise the Lord for HIS timing in me sharing this....cause my own heart has been needing it, too!