I now live in a country that is quite different from the one I grew up in. God has brought us to live in a place that values and enjoys things that are quite different from the things I enjoyed growing up. One example is the food. The dishes I really like aren’t even available in the town I now live in. The good news is that after a few years of living here we did find one shop that sold some of the ingredients to make some of the dishes I really enjoyed. As you would expect I was so excited I bought up stacks of the stuff to ensure I never run out of it again.
This included some crackers that were baked back home and shipped to this country as well as a special type of hot drink that I really enjoyed. After making a cup of this hot drink we would then butter the crackers and dip them into the tea. In some places they refer to this as dunking your biscuit. After enjoying the pleasures of this experience for a number of days I began to realise that I would get boil-like bumps coming up in some of the most unusual places, like down in my ears. This was a new experience and I was quite concerned as to what was causing it. I could not remember ever having bumps like these before. I thought about the cause of this for a few days but soon concluded that it must be as a result of my biscuit dunking indulgence. Even I had to admit that I was simply overdoing it.
Jesus spoke in John 15 about us as branches bearing fruit only if we remain in the vine and for years I tried desperately to bear fruit for God. My efforts however, only bore frustration. It was not until I had these bumps that I suddenly realised and understood how branches bear fruits. A branch doesn’t have to work itself up to manufacture a fruit. No, fruits pop out effortlessly from the branch. Why? You see, like my bumps, fruit is just the outward manifestation of an inward reality. My body had too much of something and needed to get rid of it so it pushed it out, resulting in bumps forming on the outside of my skin. This was a natural occurrence, a function of the body.
A branch is so filled with sap from the vine that the overflow causes fruit to pop out. These fruits when they are mature and ripened are filled with tasty juice that is created by the inflow of sap from the vine. This example from nature teaches us a profound lesson. As a believer, my job is to remain firmly connected to the vine while allowing the free flow of its sap to work God’s will and way through me. It all happens naturally.
The more of God I have the more of the good fruit I will produce. The reverse is also true. My fruit is a reflection of the sap that feeds me. God’s sap bears good fruit while the devil’s sap bears bad fruit. No wonder, John the Baptist made this statement, “And even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” John 3:10 God is going to cut down all the devil’s trees and throw them into the fire. Note also, that the devil has trees planted among God’s trees in God’s garden. Read about this in The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares and see what will happen to trees that do not belong to God. Read Matthew 13:24-30
Our fruitfulness is not to be taken lightly. The consequences for not bearing good fruit are eternal. Trees that bear no fruit or bear bad fruit will be thrown into the fire of hell. These are Jesus’ own words, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:5-6
The metaphor of the sap that produces good fruit is used to represent the Holy Spirit. Read Galatians 5:22 to understand the characteristics of the fruit that the Holy Spirit produces. Fruits, are also the reproductive tool of a tree; so our fruitfulness also quantifies the amount of people Jesus is able to reproduce Himself in due to our influence.
In the Mark 11 account, Jesus chose to demonstrate the consequences of fruitlessness; as if the many other times He spoke about it was not sufficient. He was hungry and having gone to a fig tree hoping to find fruit He discovered that there was none. He reacted to its fruitlessness by cursing it. The following day when they passed by again that way His disciples realised that the tree was drying up from the very roots.
What should we learn from all this? Every tree or branch that bears bad fruit or is fruitless will be cursed by God resulting in their death and subsequent burning. Therefore, abide in the vine and allow Jesus to glorify Himself through your life, making you spiritually reproductive for His Kingdom.