Prayer For A Fruitful Christian Life
How to Know if You’re a Powerful, Fruitful Christian
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Are you a fruitful Christian? I live in California, where “fruits, nuts and flakes ripen in the sun.” There’s some truth to that barb.
But there’s also great truth to the idea that as Christians, we’re called to be fruitful. In John 15:1-17 Jesus gave an entire teaching about fruitfulness. He said, “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.
This brings great glory to my Father” (John 15:8 NLT).
But this presents a problem when we look around and see the successes of other Christians. Who do we often compare ourselves to? Answer: to those with more. More fruit, more numbers, more finances, more and followers, more “s,” more awards, and so on.
Compared to great Christian leaders, I’m a complete and utter failure IF I look at fruitfulness in the wrong way.
So how should we look at fruitfulness?
01. You see success from God’s perspective
I believe numbers can be a good indicator of success. However, they are not the only indicator of success, and sometimes they are deceiving
When Jesus completed His ministry on earth, he had only a handful of committed followers. I use the term “committed” loosely. Jesus’ 12 disciples all deserted Him in His greatest hour of need. They couldn’t even pray with Him for an hour! Peter, His team leader, denied he even knew Jesus.
Yes, there were sometimes multitudes who had followed Jesus. But when He said challenging things and didn’t give out free lunches, things went south. “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” (John 6:66 ESV).
From an outside perspective, Jesus was:
• A once popular teacher who lost His following
• The leader of a small and uncommitted band of societal dropouts
• Just another criminal crucified by the RomansBut Kingdom success is not what we often think it is. Jesus taught this: “The kingdom of heaven is a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32 ESV).
So numbers can be deceiving and a poor measure of fruitfulness. If God gives numbers, we thank Him. And if He doesn’t, we still praise Him. Our job is to be faithful.
The commendation we seek is NOT: “Well done thou good and successful servant.” The commendation we seek is, “Well done thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21 KJV).
02. You abide in Christ.
Rather than numbers, Jesus told us what fruitfulness means: “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 15:8 ESV).
So fruitfulness means “abiding in Christ.” But what does that mean? It seems pretty clear to me. To be fruitful, we live in day-by-day, hour-by-hour, even minute-by-minute abiding fellowship with Jesus.
We must not be:
• Sunday only Christians—who praise the Lord on Sundays and ignore Him the rest of the week.
• Christ- at home but not at work.
• Christ- at work but not at home.
• Godly when we have our daily devotions, but devilish when we deal with others.
Instead, we are fruitful when we continuously “abide” in Christ.
Perhaps you think you can’t do it, and I would say you’re right. That is why I wrote “3 Steps to Get the Help You Need Today.”
03. You believe and obey the Bible, even when you don’t what it says.
Jesus made this point three times in this passage:
“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 ESV).
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:10 ESV).
“You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14 ESV).
Each of these verses has the same message with a different outcome:
- 7 says that if we obey His commands, prayers will be answered.
- 10 says that if we obey His commands, we’ll “remain in His love.”
- 14 says that if we obey His commands, we’ll be His friends.
Do you want to be Christ’s friend, be loved by the Lord and have your prayers answered? Then you must obey His commands.
Notice that above I said we must believe and obey not only Jesus’ commands, but the whole Bible. Why? Because Jesus affirmed, taught, lived and obeyed all of Scripture written up to that point (the Old Testament).
By implication, He affirmed that we obey the rest of Scripture that would be written after His life: the New Testament, the story of His life and His “body” the church.
(If you wonder about this, check out this great article “Jesus Christ on the Infallibility of Scripture.”)
So to be fruitful, believe and obey the Bible, even when you don’t what it says:
• About hell
• About forgiveness of others
• About homosexuality
• About sin
• About judgment
• About giving (tithing)
Perhaps you have questions about whether or not you can really trust the Bible. I suggest you study the topic further, starting with my article “4 Reasons You Can Love and Trust the Bible Today.”
04. You practice self-sacrificing love
Jesus also said that you are fruitful if you practice self-sacrificing love.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. These things I command you, so that you will love one another” (John 15:12-13, 17 ESV).
But what does “love” mean? Jesus defined it in verse 13: Real love means being willing to lay down our lives for others. Love means self-sacrifice for others. I wrote about this in my article “Who Will Get the Biggest Mansion in Heaven?”
You and I might not become famous, sought out, a best-selling author or hold an impressive position in the church. But that doesn’t mean God will not consider us powerful, fruitful Christians IF we do these things.
these guidelines from Jesus, are you a powerful, fruitful Christian?
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.
Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the Spirit-Filled Life? | Cru
Every day can be an exciting adventure for the Christian who knows the reality of being filled with the Holy Spirit and who lives constantly, moment by moment, under His gracious direction.
1. Natural Person (Self-Directed Life)
(Someone who has not received Christ.)
Self is on the throne, directing decisions and actions (represented by the dots), often resulting in frustration. Jesus is outside the life.
“A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
2. Spiritual Person (Christ-Directed Life)
(One who is directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.)
Jesus is in the life and on the throne. Self is yielding to Jesus. The person sees Jesus' influence and direction in their life.
“He who is spiritual appraises all things…We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15).
3. Carnal Person (Self-Directed Life)
(One who has received Christ, but who lives in defeat because he is trying to live the Christian life in his own strength.)
Jesus is in the life but not on the throne. Self is on the throne, directing decisions and actions (represented by the dots), often resulting in frustration.
“And I brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to carnal men, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still carnal. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshy, and are you not walking mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)
God has promised and provided for us an abundant and fruitful Christian life.
Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
“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).
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23).
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The Spiritual Person
Some spiritual traits which result from trusting God:
- Empowered by the Holy Spirit
- Introduces others to Christ
- Effective prayer life
- Understands God's Word
- Trusts & obeys God
- Experiences love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness & self-control
The degree to which these traits are manifested in the life depends upon the extent to which the Christian trusts the Lord with every detail of his life, and upon his maturity in Christ.
One who is only beginning to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit should not be discouraged if he is not as fruitful as more mature Christians who have known and experienced this truth for a longer period.
Why is it that most Christians are not experiencing the abundant life?
Carnal Christians cannot experience the abundant and fruitful Christian life. The carnal person trusts in his own efforts to live the Christian life:
- He is either uninformed about, or has forgotten, God's love, forgiveness, and power (Romans 5:8-10; Hebrews 10:1-25; 1 John 1; 2:1-3; 2 Peter 1:9; Acts 1:8).
- He has an up-and-down spiritual experience.
- He cannot understand himself – he wants to do what is right, but cannot.
- He fails to draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life.(1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Romans 7:15-24; 8:7; Galatians 5:16-18)
The Carnal Person
Some or all of the following traits may characterize the Christian who does not fully trust God:
- Poor prayer life
- No desire for Bible study
- Legalistic attitude or critical spirit
- Impure thoughts, jealousy, guilt
- Frustration, aimlessness
- Worry, discouragement
- Loss of love for God and others
(The individual who professes to be a Christian but who continues to practice sin should realize that he may not be a Christian at all, according to 1 John 2:3; 3:6, 9; Ephesians 5:5).
Jesus promised the abundant and fruitful life as the result of being filled (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit-filled life is the Christ-directed life by which Christ lives His life in and through us in the power of the Holy Spirit (John 15).
- One becomes a Christian through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, according to John 3:1-8. From the moment of spiritual birth, the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit at all times (John 1:12; Colossians 2:9, 10; John 14:16, 17). Though all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not all Christians are filled (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit is the source of the overflowing life (John 7:37-39).
- The Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ (John 16:1-15). When one is filled with the Holy Spirit, he is a true disciple of Christ.
- In His last command before His ascension, Christ promised the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to be witnesses for Him (Acts 1:1-9).
How, then, can one be filled with the Holy Spirit?
We are filled by the Holy Spirit by faith; then we can experience the abundant and fruitful life which Christ promised to each Christian.
You can appropriate the filling of the Holy Spirit right now if you:
- Sincerely desire to be directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 5:6; John 7:37-39).
- Confess your sins. By faith thank God that He has forgiven all of your sins – past, present and future – because Christ died for you (Colossians 2:13-15; 1 John 1; 2:1-3; Hebrews 10:1-17).
- Present every area of your life to God (Romans 12:1, 2).
- By faith claim the fullness of the Holy Spirit, according to:
- His Command: Be filled with the Spirit. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
- His Promise: He will always answer when we pray according to His will. “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14, 15).
Faith can be expressed through prayer…
How to pray in faith to be filled with the Holy Spirit
We are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith alone. However, true prayer is one way of expressing your faith. The following is a suggested prayer:
“Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against You. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ's death on the cross for me.
I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith.I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.”
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If so, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit right now and trust Him to do so.
How to know that you are filled (directed and empowered) with the Holy Spirit.
Did you ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit? Do you know that you are now filled with the Holy Spirit? On what authority? (On the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Word: Hebrews 11:6; Romans 14:22, 23.)
Do not depend upon feelings. The promise of God's Word, not our feelings, is our authority. The Christian lives by faith (trust) in the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Word. This train diagram illustrates the relationship between fact (God and His Word), faith (our trust in God and His Word), and feeling (the result of our faith and obedience) (John 14:21).
The train will run with or without the caboose. However, it would be futile to attempt to pull the train by the caboose. In the same way, we, as Christians, do not depend upon feelings or emotions, but we place our faith (trust) in the trustworthiness of God and the promises of His Word.
How to walk in the Spirit
Faith (trust in God and in His promises) is the only means by which a Christian can live the Spirit-directed life. As you continue to trust Christ moment by moment:
- Your life will demonstrate more and more of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) and will be more and more conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
- Your prayer life and study of God's Word will become more meaningful.
- You will experience His power in witnessing (Acts 1:8).
- You will be prepared for spiritual conflict against the world (1 John 2:15-17); against the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17); and against Satan (1 Peter 5:7-9; Ephesians 6:10-13).
- You will experience His power to resist temptation and sin (1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 1:19-23; 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 6:1-16).
By faith you can continue to experience God's love and forgiveness.
If you become aware of an area of your life (an attitude or an action) that is displeasing to the Lord, even though you are walking with Him and sincerely desiring to serve Him, simply thank God that He has forgiven your sins – past, present and future – on the basis of Christ's death on the cross. Claim His love and forgiveness by faith and continue to have fellowship with Him.
If you retake the throne of your life through sin – a definite act of disobedience – breathe spiritually.
Spiritual breathing (exhaling the impure and inhaling the pure) is an exercise in faith that enables you to continue to experience God's love and forgiveness.
- Exhale – confess your sin – agree with God concerning your sin and thank Him for His forgiveness of it, according to 1 John 1:9 and Hebrews 10:1-25. Confession involves repentance – a change in attitude and action.
- Inhale – surrender the control of your life to Christ, and appropriate (receive) the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith. Trust that He now directs and empowers you; according to the command of Ephesians 5:18, and the promise of 1 John 5:14, 15.
Get the Spirit-Filled Life Starter Kit
Adapted from Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the Spirit-Filled Life? by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.