“For this cause we also, since the day we heard, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every work and increasing in the knowledge of God, being empowered with all power, according to the might of His glory, to all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:9-11 MKJV).
The next item on Paul the Apostle’s prayer list for the members of the Colossian church was this: “…we want you to bear fruit in every good thing you do” (NIRV). This concept of “bearing fruit” echoes Jesus’ message from Matthew 7:16-20….
“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even 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 7:16-20).
The Scriptural concept of fruitfulness is often used to illustrate the result (or effect) that is brought about by something else. That effect may have a beneficial or negative impact upon others depending on the cause. Just as we can identify a tree by the fruit it produces, we can often gain a good understanding of someone’s internal mindset by examining the “fruit” produced by his or her life.
Broadly speaking, a God-honoring person is someone who demonstrates God-honoring characteristics (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). In other words, a Godly person will bear fruit that is consistent with his or her profession of faith in Christ. One way to help ensure that our lives produce the right kind of fruit is found in the following message from Jesus to His disciples from the Gospel of John…
“…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:4-5, 7-8 NIV).