Remain In Christ To Bear Great Fruit For God’s Glory
6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
God is the master gardener. He carefully prunes His vines, removing the dead portions of branches to make them more profitable, and when necessary, removing the dead wood from the vine. Just as any gardener will tell you, it is never good when you have to remove entire branches from your plants. Although necessary in order to ensure the survival of the plant, it impacts the plant and lowers the productivity of your investment. Branches that are dead to the vine become a liability, and are good for nothing except to be burned in the fire. We need to keep this in mind, for most of us are wild branches grafted into the vine. And if God will prune out the native branches, how much more so will he for the grafted ones!
Jesus says something very profound here. If we remain in Him, God will grant whatever we ask of Him! Part of that is because when we are in Christ, we are walking in the same way that He did – in complete submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit of God. As such, we are in the position to be used by Him to execute the plans and purposes that God desires to accomplish. We are other-focused, with our eyes on Jesus and the cross. When we are focused in that manner, the requests that we make will be to ensure that God’s will be done here on Earth as it is in Heaven. God certainly would grant any request that fulfills His plans and purposes.
The second part is that when we are submitted to God as Jesus was to the Holy Spirit, we will only be seeking what is good. Self-centered prayers and desires will not dominate our thoughts, and we will put down the attempts by the enemy as he attempts to distract and derail our efforts by placing selfish thoughts in our minds. If the enemy can distract us from fulfilling our purpose that God has planned, he is successful in doing the only thing that he can – to keep us from properly bearing the image of God. And when that happens, we are not bringing glory to God.
Glory to God
Jesus points out that the purpose for granting our requests IS to bring glory to God. It is not for our comfort, self-fulfillment, emotional happiness, material enrichment, or any other purpose than to bring glory to Himself. God and God alone is worthy of glory. We have been tasked with doing His will to bring glory to His name. God will do everything He can to make sure that we are successful in our attempt to submit in obedience to Him for this purpose. Anything that we ask that God has planned and desires will be granted:
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
When we are submitted in obedience to the Holy Spirit, we will bear much fruit in season:
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither-
whatever they do prospers.
Since we are the branches and Christ is the vine, we are expected to bear fruit for Christ when He wants us to, in or out of season:
12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
God is full of grace and mercy. But if/when we continually refuse to bear fruit for the one who gives us nourishment and provides for our every need, eventually He will prune out the dead wood. And for those who respond to His desire to bear fruit, He will prune the dead portions of the branch so that the rest of the branch will grow and bear fruit, thus honoring and bringing glory to God. And when we bring honor and glory to God by bearing fruit for Him at His request, we show that we truly are His disciples.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I willing to bear fruit out of season for God?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have shown great compassion towards me in bringing me to Your Son. Grant me the strength and desire to bear much fruit for You. Help me to be prepared to do all that You require of me so that I may bring glory to Your name. Help me to be a better disciple, and grant me the ability to submit and obey Your word more and more each and every day. Forgive me when I fail and succumb to selfishness desires. Guard my mind and my heart against the plans of the enemy, and give me the character to consistently turn towards You in every circumstance that You permit in life, for You are Sovereign Lord over all creation. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.