In John 15:5, Jesus says: “I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you – but when you live separated from me you are powerless.” (The Passion Translation – TPT).
As followers of Jesus we are called to “be fruitful” (Gen 1:22, John 15:2, 16). Spiritual flourishing or “bearing fruit,” a common Biblical theme, is much-needed in our world today, too. In Psalm 92:12-14, we read: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, …planted in the house of the Lord. …They will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green” (NIV).
This Psalm (from this past Sunday’s lectionary readings) recognizes the goodness of God and calls us to celebrate His great love for us. The 14th verse encourages us to know that, even as we age physically (when we are old and gray), we will “stay fresh, bearing luscious fruit and abiding faithfully” (TPT).
What a great promise!
If you look back to the 7th verse, you will see that the opposite is true for those who choose to live their lives independent of the life-giving power of the Lord. “It’s true the wicked flourish, but only for a moment, foolishly forgetting their destiny with death, that they will all one day be destroyed forevermore.” (Psalm 92:7 TPT)
While most Old Testament references to fruitfulness have to do with the production of many healthy offspring, in New Testament passages (i.e., John 15, Ephesians 4, and Hebrews 6), fruitfulness is about growing into maturity and the production of many healthy characteristics, actions, thoughts, attitudes, and desires as we live in union with Christ – the source of fruitfulness (on-going growth/maturity). (John 15)
Are you encouraged by your spiritual maturity today, seeing that sweet, nourishing fruitfulness in your thoughts and actions? Have you remained “fresh and green” bearing that fruit of LOVE with all of its by-products (joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control)? Hallelujah: it is streaming from within you as you live in union with Jesus Christ as your source.
For more on the subject of Spiritual Maturity, check out Pete Scazzerro’s podcasts about his new book “Emotionally Healthy Discipleship.” (click here) The eight podcasts from March 23, 2021, to May 11, 2021, are overviews of the chapters of that book – quite revolutionary!!! “Abiding in Jesus bears lasting fruit!” (Pete Scazzero).
written by Majors B. Bryan and Beverly Smith, Pastoral Care, USA East