Bible with Cross ShadowEven so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:17-20

Bearing good fruit is a test for every tree, not just prophets and teachers. In fact, our faithfulness as disciples of Jesus Christ is evidenced by our bearing much fruit (John 15:8). To do otherwise results in our being cut down (or cut off) and thrown into the fire.

It is the abiding life that bears much fruit; Him abiding in us, our abiding in Him, and His words abiding in us. Jesus is faithful in His abiding. When it comes to bearing fruit, we are the limiting factor.

The Greek word for abide is menō. It also means to remain, continue and endure. The abiding life is not a passive life. At a minimum, there is the obedient response to Jesus’ command. We must choose to abide.

Furthermore, while God is working in us to will and do to His good pleasure, we must be working out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). The good fruit that every good tree bears is the fruit of the Spirit and the work of God that we have been created to walk in; work that glorifies the Father (Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:16).

For me, abiding has required my enduring the transformational work of the Holy Spirit (2Corinthians 3:18). The removal of impatience and a judgmental spirit are two examples. Furthermore, God has used the chaos of transformation to work His way, truth and life into me; and to work out the hooks, habits and hang-ups that interfere with my glorifying Him and enjoying His presence.

Searching out the mysteries of the kingdom has been God’s way for abiding His words in me. It has increased my love of the truth, and made me free (indeed). This activity has been used by God to transform me, by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). I have found the word of God to be, as He promised, alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12).

Most importantly, the Lord and I are bearing good fruit. I am just a branch, and it is by His life and power that the fruit is produced. My part is small, but it is important.

I believe the same is true for every one of God’s children. Jesus’ encouragement for us to both hear and do His sayings means there is something for us to do. It may be choosing to endure the Holy Spirit’s work. It may be putting to death the deeds of the flesh. It may be searching out the mysteries of the kingdom; that we might become faithful stewards.

All that we do must be done in faith – in the will of the Father. He does not hide His will from us. Ask His Son, our Lord and Master, to give you His command. Rest assured that His command will come packaged with the faith and grace you need; and His loving assurance to lead you into His kingdom.

Humbly yours and forever His,