January 27, 2013

Fruit-Bearing Discipleship

 

“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples"

(John 15:8).

 

What does God desire from us? Surely God desires our hands, as well as our hearts. God confronts us with this searching question: “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). There is no such thing as true discipleship without fruit‑bearing. The two ideas are inseparable. “You will be My disciples,” Jesus said, in the bearing of “much fruit.” In the Sermon on the Mount, He had said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). We can hardly make a greater mistake than to think of the faith as something simply to be “experienced.” Those who are saved are those who must serve.

To become a Christian is to become involved in an active undertaking. Almost every scriptural analogy used to illustrate the relationship of God’s people is one that implies work or activity. Disciples are useful members in the body, productive branches in the vine, dependable servants in the household, etc. “Let our people,” Paul wrote, “learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14). Jesus Christ did not go to the Cross merely to confer an honorary status upon those who believe in Him. The text probably quoted most often to emphasize that our salvation is by God’s grace is immediately followed by this statement: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Our God has plans for us. God’s will is to weave us into the great pattern of God’s purpose in Jesus Christ and make us participants in the outworking of God’s intentions. If we seek God truly, we will not wander aimlessly in the realm of spirituality, but we will pursue a path that goes toward the doing of definite good things. The discipleship God seeks from us is not merely one that we enjoy, but one that produces results. We can be sure that whatever we do within God’s will, God is more than able to bring something good out of it. And so God tells us: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Ecclesiastes 11:1).

“Our Father, You come seeking fruit. Teach me, I pray You, to realize how truly this is the one object of my existence, and of my union to Christ”

(Andrew Murray).