We all desire to exhibit fruit in our lives, and rightly so. Fruit is the outward mark of the quality of the life within. The Christian believer who is walking with his Heavenly Father, being transformed by the renewing of his mind, can and will see the righteousness of God, the wisdom of God, and the wholeness of God manifested in his life as he stays faithful to God’s faithful Word.
We learn in John 15 that not only does God desire that we bear fruit, but also that this fruit should remain.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
The Greek word here translated “remain” is meno, meaning to stay or continue. And how do we go about receiving this genuine fruit, this lasting fruit?
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
How long must we abide before the fruit shows up? When will it be ready for picking? How big will the first crop be? God’s Word does not tell us how long, how much, how often—it simply says “abide.”
Is this really so difficult? Even if there were no promise of fruit, simply abiding in him is still the greatest joy and satisfaction that a man or woman can experience. Yet, in addition to this, we have the promise of fruit as well.
However, due to the training received from old-man nature and senses-oriented culture, some don’t want to abide. They want instant fruit. They want results, and they want them now. And they are willing to give allegiance to anyone or anything which will promise this.
The Old Testament abounds with sad but significant records of what ensued when God’s people turned from Him to another after deciding that His way was “too slow.” The outcome? Confusion, destruction, and, above all, an increase in the very fear which first motivated them, but rarely the deliverance they hoped for. And never a lasting deliverance.
Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay [lean] on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!
(You may be interested to note that the very words translated “trust” and “stay” here also occur in Proverbs 3:5.)
God’s people were being attacked. The enemy was drawing close. Fear was rampant. Rather than turning to God Who had given them the land in the first place, they turned to Egypt. After all, they could see how strong Egypt was. But…
Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand [i.e., allow the invasion to occur], both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen [helped] shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.
How like the outcome for the impatient son who doubts his Father’s willingness and ability and places his trust elsewhere. Even if the thing he trusts is, or has been, a vehicle of God’s deliverance, this does not make it a source of deliverance.
God is able and willing to perform that which He has promised. He does care for you. He is faithful, and His Word is faithful. We simply need to learn to trust Him by patiently building His Word in our minds and hearts.
Even when I do trust in Him, and only in Him, the results may not be instantaneous. The Red Sea did not part when the children of Israel were still “packing their bags.” But it parted in time for them to cross over. And closed in time to annihilate their adversaries. So, for you and me, sometimes it’s simply a matter of waiting on God. But patience is easy when I am assured that God is Who He says He is, and will do what He says He will do. Therefore…
Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Deliverance is promised; wisdom is promised; signs and wonders are promised. Let us abide in him and together share the joy of bearing fruit that is not only genuine, but lasting. When? At least as soon as we need it. How much? At least as much as we need.
1This teaching article is an excerpt from a book published by Scriptural Study Groups: Tom Burke, Holding Fast the Faithful Word, (Scriptural Study Groups, 2010) 143–146.