What is Fruit-Bearing?
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One of the exercises I gave the leaders in this year’s Insurgence Experience (IXP) Mastermind was as follows:
Give us a definition of bearing fruit as the New Testament describes it. Give Scriptural support for your definition and an example from your own life concerning how you bore fruit in a situation.
I did the assignment as well, and I’m posting my answer here for public consumption since it’s a topic I’ve never explored.
(Though I did write a related piece called Rethinking the Fruit of the Spirit.)
Defining Fruit and Fruit-Bearing
Fruit is the outcome, result, product or consequence of a life or activity.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
When the term is used in the New Testament, fruit is almost always a metaphor for a spiritual result pointing to character/conduct and-or reproduction/propagation.
To bear good fruit, then, is to display the character of Jesus in one’s conduct and/or to reproduce and propagate that character in others.
From my perspective, this is how the term “fruit” is used throughout the New Testament.
Again, fruit refers to:
1. The character/conduct of Christ.
2. Reproducing/propagating His character in others.
See the following for support:
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.
Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),
filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth ...
so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted.
An Example from My Own Life
My greatest resource is The Deeper Christian Life Network.
The Network contains my best work, mainly messages I’ve delivered in live conferences spanning some 25+ years. It also contains inside peeks of my own spiritual habits, a monthly Q & A, a Scriptural game-changing commentary, sneak previews, and much more.
The testimonials of changed lives through the Network is an example of fruit. (You can read the testimonials from the last five conferences on this page for an example.)
Another example of fruit in my own life comes from the IXP Mastermind.
It’s a full-year immersion for those who regularly preach and teach. We focus on how to live and preach/teach in such a way that bears lasting fruit.
You can read the testimonials from it on this page.
Feel free to share your reactions and impressions in the comments.
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