Links Daily Devotional

Real Fruit

“If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV)

What makes golf golf?

The fastest growing experience in the golf industry these days is Topgolf, a technogically-empowered driving range where players hit balls equipped with microchips out to various targets in the distance. Anyone can play, because you don’t need to get the ball in the hole. You just need to take aim and the scoring system will give you the points you have earned based on where the ball ends up. It’s a cross between reality and a video game, and folks will tell you it’s a ton of fun.

But is Topgolf golf? Certainly a club and a ball and a swing all play into the game at Topgolf, but a lot goes missing, too. For one, you can leave your putter in the bag. Still, Topgolf can spark people’s interest in the on-course game and maybe improve their skills as well.

A similar question for those of us who are trying to represent Christ as his ambassadors in the world (2 Corinthians 5:20) is this: when is fruit fruit?

To make sure you’re thinking in context, what we’re drawing from here is the biblical idea that disciples of Christ will bear fruit. But exactly what this fruit looks like can make for more than a little discussion. Some say that fruit is defined in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Others have suggested that fruit is evangelistic success—that is, a person’s Gospel message has resulted in fruitfulness when a hearer comes to faith in Jesus.

These and other ideas may be right, but here is how they can be tested. In John 15, as Jesus was teaching the disciples about his being the vine and their being the branches, he noted that those who remain in him and those in whom he remains—one and the same—will “bear much fruit.” Now Christ, we know, dwells eternally. If in his dwelling eternally, he dwells also within us, then we can say that the fruit we bear will have eternal weight. With this measure, if people come to saving faith through Christ’s work in and through us, then yes, that is real fruit. And if our kindness or goodness or joy or love results not just in a feel-good day for another human being but leads them to see God and know him, then again we have borne true spiritual fruit.

A poison apple is also a fruit, and it can be given to another under the pretense of friendship—but at its core is death. To be a bearer of righteous fruit, we must have Jesus; he must indwell us. And when he does, his Spirit will produce in us things that last, both for our own souls and for the souls of those who eat what we give to them from hands that truly love.

Jeff Hopper
September 16, 2015
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