For Intimacy With God And A Fruitful Christian Life
What Does Bearing Fruit or Being A Fruitful Christian Mean? A Bible Study
The Bible mentions having or bearing fruit. What does it mean? What fruit does a faithful Christian bear?
What is Fruit?
The Greek word used for “fruit” is “karpos” and it refers to the fruit of vines or trees. In the Old Testament it can refer to one’s children which are born of a family. In the case of bearing fruit for the Christian, it specifically means to be producing something similar to what the attributes of the tree or plant is.
For example, a vine can produce grapes and the fruit that is born is of similar nature and quality of the plant from which it comes.
The key is that the fruit that it must be bearing is of the same type, quality, and substance of that which it comes from and when the Bible speaks about bearing fruit, there are only two options; it will be fruit of the Spirit or fruit of the flesh.
Every Christian should be bearing fruit of the Spirit…
Fruits of the Flesh
Paul writes about two different kinds of fruits in Galatians chapter 5 and says “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Gal 5:16-17).
The fruits of the flesh are evident in most of the world, among those who are not saved. The fruits of the flesh include “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things these” (Gal 5:19-21a).
Where do these kinds of fruits lead someone? Paul answers that by writing “I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21b). The rationality of this is if they aren’t inheriting the kingdom, then they are inheriting the wrath of God (Rev 21:12-15).Sometimes even a Christian can bear these types of fruit because they are still battling the old desires which is what Paul meant when he wrote “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19). The difference is that Paul didn’t want to do these things and neither do those who are born again.
Those who are of the world have no problem with doing these things (Gal 5: 19-21a) but the Christian knows these are not good and desires to do good.
Fruits of the Spirit
Next, Paul writes about what the fruits of the Spirit are. The “Spirit” is capitalized, meaning that it’s a proper noun, which is a person and in this case, the Spirit is God the Holy Spirit for we can’t produce godly fruit while we’re in the flesh or without the Spirit’s help.
Paul tells us what the fruits of the Spirit are in Galatians chapter 5 “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23).
These are fruits that are attributes of God patience, joy, and faithfulness. The fruit will closely resemble the parent plant, in this case the Spirit of God.
We cannot see in the human heart to know who is saved and who isn’t but we can see the fruit of a person’s life or the absence thereof, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24).
So a believer in Christ has crucified the flesh and that means the fruits of the flesh will be less visible but those who are born of the Spirit are crucifying or killing “the flesh with its passions and desires.” A person who’s not born again cannot produce these fruits and doesn’t care if they’re not.
The Source of the Fruit
Jesus told the disciples “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” (John 15:5). The key here is that apart from abiding in the vine, we cannot produce anything at all which is why He said “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” (John 15:4). You will never see a branch producing any fruit unless it’s attached to the vine.
It’s not hard…it’s impossible so we must be abiding in Christ for He says “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).If we abide in Christ we will produce fruit and when Jesus said His words must be abiding in us that means that we must be abiding in or dwelling in the Word of God for Jesus is the Word and the Word is Jesus (John 1:1, 14). Apart from abiding in Christ and His Word, the Bible, we can do nothing at all (John 15:5) and nothing does not mean a little something.
Jude described those who are headed for destruction as “fruitless trees” (Jude 1:12) meaning that there will be no fruit of the Spirit in those who are not abiding in Christ and in His Word. What is missing is “the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:11) and “the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Rom 6:22) for which we were called “in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Rom 7:4).
As I wrote before, we cannot see into a human heart to know whether someone is saved or not but we can see what type of fruit is born.
In other words, we can be fruit inspectors and we can tell if there is no fruit and if there is no fruit, there is no root and if the only fruit you see is that of the flesh, you can reasonably assume that person might not be saved.
If you are abiding in Christ then you will be abiding in His Word, the Bible and you will be producing fruit of the Spirit. The word “abide” means to dwell in, to live in, and be present in.
Every Christian should be bearing fruit of the Spirit; some more and some not as much but every believer should be bearing at least some fruit but if someone claims to be a Christian and is bearing no godly fruit and you only see fruit of the flesh, you need to witness to that person because it could well be that they are not really saved.
More about some good fruit: Fruit of the Spirit
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Study 4 THE WAY TO BECOME A FRUITFUL CHRISTIAN – Words of Life Ministries
THE SECOND LETTER OF PETER by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: 2 Peter 1: 5-15
In 2 Peter 1:5-11 we are given very clear guidance about becoming fruitful Christians. The key verse is verse 8. It should be the burning desire of every Christian to become fruitful; the alternative is to remain barren and unfruitful - to be unproductive, the withered fig tree (Mark 11:20).
How many Christians are this! – and the Lord’s desire is that each of us should be fruitful (John 15:1-16). In the KJV notice “fruit” (v.2), “more fruit” (v.2), “much fruit” (v.5), and “that your fruit should remain” (verse 16, KJV). It is only as we bear fruit that the Lord is glorified (v.8).
How can we bear much fruit, how can we become fruitful Christians? The answer is very important: we shall only become fruitful Christians as we do something, strenuously, regularly and conscientiously. This is brought out in verse 5, where Peter says we must ”add” - not casually and occasionally, but “make every effort”.
The argument which Peter places before us is this: God has done His part in giving you the gift of faith (v.1), in bringing you to a knowledge of Himself (vs. 2 and 3), and in making you a partaker of His divine nature (v.4); now you must do your part, and you will become a fruitful Christian.
Verses 5, 6 and 7 tell us that we must exercise our faith by adding to ourselves seven virtues or graces. God has given us the gift of faith, and on this foundation and by using this gift we must add - what?
1. GOODNESS (verse 5)
This means ‘moral excellence’ or ‘good character’. Compare Acts 11:24, but notice this: it is a manly goodness, a quality that is masculine, vigorous and strong - something which is greatly needed in our churches: men and women who are those of genuine and virile Christian character.
2. KNOWLEDGE (verse 5)
This means ’wisdom’ in the sense of knowing how to act as a Christian in relationships and duties of life.
If we need counsel there are some friends to whom we can gladly go to seek such counsel, and we go to them because they have knowledge and wisdom; they know what to advise and how to act and they have spiritual intelligence; but we do not have to go to man to get such knowledge and wisdom - Psalm 32:8 and Proverbs 2:6.
3. SELF-CONTROL (verse 6)
If we are characterised by this virtue it means that our desires will be under the Lord’s mastery and control, and not only those, but our judgments, tastes, speech and everything else. This is what it means to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
There is a special reference here to the mastery of sexual desires, which are very strong in any normal and healthy person; they are God’s gift but must be brought under and kept under control, requiring discipline.
Does your body master you, or are you master of your body?
4. PERSEVERANCE (verse 6)
This is meant to convey the idea of endurance. The Christian pilgrimage is a very hard one, and as we travel on to Glory we are to ”endure hardship … a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3); compare James 1:2-6 and 12. We are to be people of grit as well as grace (Hebrews 11:27 and 32-38).
5. GODLINESS (verse 6)
This is the old-fashioned word we know best as piety, or reverence, referring to a quality which is very much needed today.
There is no suggestion of being sad and sombre, but we are to be characterised by a sanctity and a seriousness, a Christ-ness (1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 4:7-8 and 1 Timothy 6:3,5,6,11).
There is a beautiful illustration of godliness in action in 2 Kings 4:8-10. Do others perceive that we are holy, godly and Christ-? - look up Acts 4:13.
6. BROTHERLY KINDNESS (verse 7)
The word is ‘philadelphia’, which means ‘brotherly affection’. We as Christians are to develop kindness to those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ - look up Galatians 6:10, and compare 1 Peter 3:8-9. What scope there is for exercising this grace!
7. LOVE (verse 7)
This should be the great characteristic of every Christian, and if we want to know what love is and how it is expressed, all we have to do is to read 1 Corinthians chapter 13. It means that we should not only love the people of God, but love all people.
These are the seven graces that we, through the exercising of faith, should constantly be adding to our lives, and we shall become fruitful Christians. What will be the result of the adding of these seven graces:
- (1) We shall no longer be barren and unproductive, but increasingly fruitful, especially in the knowledge of God - see verse 8.
- (2) We shall no longer be blind, but spiritually enlightened - see the first part of verse 9.
- (3) We shall no longer be forgetful of all that the Lord has done for us, but we shall be constantly filled with gratitude to Him for His grace to such unworthy people as ourselves - see the second part of verse 9.
- (4) We shall no longer be ly to stumble spiritually, but we shall be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10) - see verse 10.
- (5) We shall not suffer loss, but we shall receive a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) - see verse 11.
We must see to it that we do all in His power to become fruitful Christians.
Fasting Day 5: Pursuing Intimacy With God Through Spiritual Goal Setting (01)
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. – Matthew 6:31-34
Practically all the goals that people set for themselves every New Year revolves around the physical. It’s always about new jobs, more money, the next holiday, business ideas, getting a new boyfriend, a new home, losing weight, saving more money, etc.
There’s actually nothing wrong with setting these goals. But Jesus has assured us that as we become more kingdom minded and seek after righteousness, we would achieve these things more easily than we would by just going after them.
Around July, 2016, I began to seek God’s help and direction in dealing with a major financial situation I found myself in. There had been a major shift in my business as a result of recession in my country.Clients were no longer responding for my services as they used to, as their priorities seemed to shift.
So, among other things (reading books and scouting for new business ideas), I began to seek God for direction.
As I sought God, I realized that there had actually been a shift in my own life too. I didn’t realize this in any way because I was a normal Christian, involved in the work of God (so I thought). I give to the Church and involve in prayer, evangelism and other forms of ministry. So what was the matter?
Fortunately, while in several forms of prayer, meditation and withdrawal, I realized that everything I had done was done to fulfill all righteousness. In all earnest, I was now more committed to my business and making ends meet than I was to God’s call for my life and His kingdom.
God was not against my business endeavors and labors. But I only needed to understand a few things He had been bugging my mind with and re-prioritize. As I did and continue to humbly learn how to do, the other things I’m worried about begin to fall into place gradually and doors begin to open than I had ever thought about.
If righteousness before God was measured on the basis of 100% perfect living, then people David, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Paul and others would never have been qualified to be our reference points.
Many of us assume that by giving enough and involving in some Church activities, we’ve done what is expected of us. Those are not bad in themselves, but what is more important is connecting with God daily and really get to prioritize our lives and follow after His plans for our lives.
So in addition to your physical goals, set spiritual goals.
How would you to improve your prayer life? How many souls would you love to touch through witnessing or charity? How would you to improve your personal study life?Sure, the Lord wants to give us blessing after blessing. He wants to open every window of Heaven and rain down gifts, both spiritual and natural, into our souls. He wants to fulfill the desires of our hearts. As we learn to pray and surrender to Him day by day all through the year, He gives us peace that passes all understanding and leads us to do great works for Him and for humanity.
Giving up and giving in is the hardest part. And it needs to be daily. The good news is…He takes care of it from there.
PRAYER FOR INTIMACY WITH GOD
“This day, O LORD, I confess that YOUR LOVE for me is everlasting. I confess that YOUR plans for me are to give me peace and an honorable future. I confess that it’s because YOU are with me that I am not consumed.
LORD Jesus, I hereby surrender my life to You once again. I declare again that You are my LORD and my Savior, till eternity.
I confess that You know my past, my present and my future.
My confidence, even this day, is that You will lead me in the way that’s been ordained for me.
O LORD, I surrender to You today with all my heart and soul. Please come into my heart in a deeper way.
I say “Yes” to You today, and open all the secret places in my heart, saying LORD Jesus, ‘Come on in.’ I hold nothing back.
Holy Spirit, bring me deeper transformation and relationship to Your Person and to the person of Jesus Christ.
I surrender my understanding of how things ought to be; my choices and my will. I surrender to You the promises I have kept and the promises I have failed to keep. I surrender my weaknesses and strengths to You. I surrender my emotions, my fears, my insecurities, my everything. I surrender my entire life to You, the past, the present and the future.
LORD, Take, and receive all my rights, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess.
You have given all of me. To you, O Lord, I now return all.
All is Yours.
Lead me to use my all, wholly according to Your will.As I walk with THEE, LORD, please keep me in peace, and keep my family and friends near.
Fill me with Your joy, love and Your grace, for this is sufficient for me.
In Jesus name I pray.
Study and pray more from these verses…
Intimacy With God: The Way to True Fulfillment
I have a confession. I really chick flicks, movies in which Mr. Right meets Miss Right, they fall in love, experience a crisis that rips their relationship apart, then make up with a kiss.
I these movies because they speak to a place deep inside me that longs for romantic love.
However, I know I will never find total satisfaction even if I could experience the romantic love of the movies because it's not the highest aspiration of mankind or the zenith of fulfillment.
If it were, then a scriptural command to love romantically would be our greatest calling. Instead, it's to love God most (Matt. 22:37-40). In His love, we can find fulfillment that no human can provide.
Take these steps to help you experience an intimate love relationship with God.
Step One: Embrace the Truth That Intimacy With God Has No Contenders
One of my girlfriends was lonely and frustrated that God hadn't delivered her greatest desire: a husband. Never married and 40, she was tired of praying and waiting and waiting and waiting, but most of all she was convinced that her life was somehow less-than. “Being single is not the abundant life!” she stated emphatically.
I certainly identified with the sometimes heart-wrenching emotions of feeling the only girl without a date to the prom. I empathized with her loneliness, her cries late at night when only God can hear and her zillion prayers for a man she wasn't even sure exists. But the absence of abundant life?
Our conversation sent me running for my Bible where I found John 10:10.
“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.”
The word life jumped off the page. I had to look up its meaning. In the definition, I found the prescription for my friend's sickness of heart: God Himself is the abundant life that both she and I seek—not relationship with a man. The Greek word for life is zoe (the original language) and means:
“life, referring to the principle of life in the spirit and the soul. (emphasis mine). [Zoe is] all the highest and best that Christ is, which He gives to the Saints. The highest blessedness of the creature.”
Life. Inside of me. Inside of you. In the spirit. In the soul. God-given. The highest blessing we can have this side of heaven. Christ Himself.
The first step to developing an intimate (and fulfilling) love relationship with God is to admit that the abundant life He promises will never be found in another person. Instead, as the definition of zoe (life) shows, true abundant life is internal and it's found in Christ alone.
Don't get me wrong; God created us to experience human love, and romance can add a wonderful dimension to life. But romantic love will never be able to trump an intimate love relationship with God. Frankly, God s it this way because He doesn't want any contenders for your heart; He's jealous for your affection (Ex. 34:14).
Step Two: Accept That a Fulfilling Intimate Love Relationship With God is Personal
Some things with God are so personal, so intimate, that they cannot be described with words, they can only be felt with the heart. This is how true intimacy with God is; we feel that no one else can really understand the special bond that we share with Him because it's altogether personal.
This describes my relationship with Christ.
He has comforted me as I have cried, directed me, taught me, rebuked me, guided me and loved me. There have been times when I have thought that my heart would burst with emotion for Him.
Who could understand the depth of my relationship with Him but me and my Savior? This is true intimacy with God: when we feel that no one else would totally understand, even if we tried to explain, because relationship with God is personal.
If you haven't ever committed yourself to a personal relationship with Him, it's not fraught with difficult requirements and religious duties.He doesn't ask that you change yourself before you commit yourself to Him; He just asks that you come as you are, confess your sin to Him, recognize your need to have your sins forgiven and accept His gift of forgiveness that He has offered to you through His death on the cross (Matt.
27:1-66, 2 Cor. 5:21). After you have done this, you can begin a life-long conversation with Him which is part of the abundance of zoe.
Step Three: Talk With God
Just as close relationship with another person requires conversation, so relationship with God is the same. Conversing with Him happens through reading the Bible (His main way of communicating with those who love Him) and prayer (a two-way conversation between you God).
When you pray, God is not asking for a formula; He doesn't want you to pretend to be something that you are not. He doesn't want you to only praise Him, never ask Him for anything, or to say particular phrases to make yourself sound “religious.” Instead, He just wants you to tell Him what is on your heart and mind, just as you would with a trusted friend (1 Peter 5:6-8).
As you pray, you will learn how to hear God's voice, just as Jesus says those who know Him do (John 10:27-29). However, remember that it takes time to learn how to accurately hear Him.
Sometimes you may know He is speaking to you through the Holy Spirit, other times you may not be sure.
But the more you understand who God is through His Word and your mind is changed, the more you will be able to discern when He is speaking to you and when He is not (Rom. 12:2).
Step Four: Spend Time With Others Who Believe in Christ
When I look back on my relationship with Jesus since I came to know Him over 20 years ago, I'm not sure where I would be without other precious believers who showed me a picture of Him.
One woman befriended me and taught me a tremendous amount about Christ. She showed me His love; read the Bible (His Word) with me, encouraged me and prayed for me. Without her care and concern, I'm not sure how I would have handled many of the adversities I faced during one particular dark season.Because being in close relationship with others who know Him is a vital part of developing an intimate love relationship with Him, Jesus prayed that those who know Him would experience the same kind of unity that He experiences with His Father. I experienced this with my friend.
If you don't know anyone who you can develop a close relationship with in this way, reach out. Ask around for a spiritual mentor, become a part of a Bible study at a Bible-believing church, or join a Christian discipleship group.
Step Five: Be Patient
Lastly, remember that just as developing intimacy with another person takes time, so it is with relationship with God. As you grow to trust Him and believe what He says in His Word more and more, your love affair with Him will become increasingly fulfilling and the abundance of zoe will grow inside your spirit and soul.