In John 15, the result of abiding in Christ is bearing fruit. The nature of God is the fruit of the Spirit, as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Matthew 7:16 says, "by their fruit, you will know them." Using the Christian label does not mean one is in Christ; being Christlike as seen in one's nature reveals we are in Christ. When Jesus saw the fig tree not bearing fruit, He said, "every tree that does not bear fruit will be cut off." John 15 reveals that God is the gardener, and He prunes every tree to bear more fruit.
If we do not want to be cut off from the blessings of God, we must daily renew our relationship, drawing near, abiding, allowing Him to remove anything attached to us that is not of Him. Our dominion mandate from Genesis 1:28 is "be fruitful and multiply." What comes out of us as we minister to others is the seeds of our fruitfulness. Those who receive from us gain the very seed of God, and as we water the seed, multiplication transpires.
Paul writes to the Colossians, sharing the reports that how the good news that went to them is going worldwide, bearing the fruit of changed lives. Transformation comes to those who go to God daily. We cannot get near God and remain the same. The question is, are we drawing near to the Lord daily? Are we like Paul's example of Epaphras, faithful servants?
Paul now prays in verses 9-14 for the Colossians, speaking the work the Lord wants to form in them. May the love of the Holy Spirit fill us, having complete knowledge of His will in all wisdom and understanding, producing every kind of good fruit. Our lives bringing honor to the Lord, as we know Him more and more, being strengthened with power, endurance, and patience as needed, walking in the joy of the Lord, always giving thanks, as we live in the light.
Paul, in verses 15-20, shares on the supremacy of Christ. We must know Christ in His fullness to become like Christ in all of His ways. Christ created everything in heaven and on earth, the visible and invisible, through Him and for Him. All things are held together by Him; He is the head of the body, the church. His will is that He would be first in everything, reconciling all things to Him through the blood of His cross.
The purpose of every test and trial is to bring us to a place of Christ being first. If we can recognize this, then life will become much smoother. Nothing in this world was created evil; everything was made good; our job in life is to reconcile all things to God. To take what the enemy has meant for evil and turn it around for good. The branches in our life that do not produce fruit are those where Christ is not first. If we desire more excellent fruit, we need to allow the Lord to search our hearts and reveal to us the things He wants to prune. God wants to use us to better this world, but we must first allow Him to change our hearts.
Paul clarifies his ministry in verses 24-29, that he rejoices in his sufferings for the church, so that his purpose of making known the hidden mystery for ages among the Gentiles, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, striving in His strength, so that every person is presented mature in Christ. Our desire in ministry should be the same.
The charge from this devotion is for us to draw closer to the Lord so that we may bear more fruit and have a more significant effect on those whom God has entrusted into our care.