My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
— John 15:8
There is a cliché picture of heaven. It goes like this, one day when you enter heaven you’ll suddenly meet all the people you helped and didn’t know it! You’ll enter in and John will say how much your testimony moved his heart at work. Jane will tell you that you were a big comfort to her through your prayers and so on.
The Biblical picture of bearing fruit is much different though. Fruit isn’t something that’s hidden to be realized one day that it existed, fruit is obvious and in a Jesus follower fruit will come in abundance Jesus says. That doesn’t mean there won’t be people who have been helped without us knowing but it does mean that those are the exceptions not the rule.
So what is the secret? Why are so many Christians so without fruit that we need this half truth cliché to comfort us?
Jesus describes the secret in John chapter 15.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
— John 15:5
Abiding. To abide in Jesus is the key to producing abundant noticeable fruit. Jesus doesn’t say you might bear a lot of fruit or that if you are particularly gifted or a pastor you will bear much fruit He says if you abide, you bear a lot of fruit. That’s it.
Now how can we put some practical legs on what it means to abide? There are two key phrases that stood out to me this morning.
One is back in John 14.
“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.
— John 14:25
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
— John 14:16-17
So Jesus said that while the disciples were with Him in that kind of regular constant fellowship they were abiding with Him and with His Spirit. Then He says the remarkable thing that this new abiding will involve the Holy Spirit being in rather than just with. So we are meant to have a regular constant fellowship with Jesus that is deeply personal and involves the inner working of the Holy Spirit.
So then we should ask ourselves how are we doing in abiding? Are we around Jesus as much or even more than the disciples were? How much time did you take to spend with Him specifically today? Developing a daily time with the Lord is not just a nice thing for some “super-disciples” it’s what should be the norm.
If we want an impact like the disciples let’s start by abiding like they abided.
For some practical tips see my post on Six Points to start a Daily Bible Reading Habit, or check out this resource that the Navigators developed years ago that has helped tons of people develop a habit or regularly being with God: