John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can't do anything."
The branches of authentic faith outwardly produce the juiciest fruit because they're inwardly connected to the life-giving vine! In Mark 11, Jesus did something curious. He cursed a fig tree because it bore no fruit. You might be thinking, "Poor fig tree! Why would Jesus curse something He created?" But, Jesus was taking the opportunity to teach an object lesson about faith.
Just before this, Jesus had emptied the temple courts, angered by all the people who appeared to serve God. But like the fruitless fig tree, their actions proved different. What was His point? Faux faith might produce leaves, but it can never bear fruit!
In today's verse, Jesus says He is the vine, and we are the branches. This means if we fully place our trust in His strength and provision as we serve Him, we will demonstrate life-giving spiritual fruit. Because, apart from Christ, we are fruitless and have nothing of lasting value to offer. As Christ-followers, our goal is to grow more like Jesus and reflect His character, from the inside out, with authentic faith. Then, and only then, can we truly glorify God and be fruitful as we fulfill His purpose for our lives.
Read Galatians 5:22-23. Some aspects of the fruit of the Spirit are easier for us to produce than others. Yet, as branches connected to the vine, we already have each of them in us waiting to bloom. Which character qualities come more naturally to you, and which ones do you struggle with? Ask God to help you refine those areas to produce the best fruit possible!
Lord, help me to have strong, authentic faith so that Your fruit grows abundantly in me. And help me to persevere as I seek to grow more and more like Christ so that I may bring honor to Your name. In Jesus' name, Amen.