John 15:8 states that “By this, my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
According to this verse, what is it that proves we are genuinely “abiding” or have a broken connection with the vine? What evidence can you point to that confirms “fruit” in your life?
As I write these thoughts, we are in the heart of winter, and the trees outside my window are barren. Yet, I know with certainty that these branches will come to life in a few short months as they burst forth with leaves. Likewise, if I were overlooking an orchard, the fruit trees would not only blossom but also produce fruit. I am grateful that John provides for us a “check and balance” in terms of whether we are “abiding.” That check and balance is fruit. If our fruit is lacking, it should immediately alert us to the probability that a problem exists. John also confirms that there is a “result” of not bearing fruit. In other words, we cannot remain in a state of non-bearing fruit for too long, before a negative consequence occurs.
John 15:6 says, “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”
To ensure that you and I “abide” and not become the branch that is thrown into the fire and burned, how can we daily keep such a check and balance system in our lives? How do you know for sure that you are bearing fruit?
Spend some time in prayer, asking God to reveal “fruit” in your life. If this fruit is readily recognizable, celebrate your abiding connection with Christ while praying that he produce even more fruit in your life. If, on the other hand, identifying “fruit” is currently a challenge, admit this freely before your Savior. Confess your lack of discipline is daily tending to the spiritual practices that will keep you “abiding.” Pray that God will give you the conviction and the motivation to follow through on identifying and building necessary spiritual practices into your daily routine. These practices will re-establish your deep connection with Christ.