John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
When I was a new Christian I remember being given some advice by an evangelist friend. He said it was a good idea to identify those around me who were really like Jesus and to go rub up against them in hopes that some of it would rub off. After we quit laughing, I took to heart the importance of identifying the qualities of Jesus in others and learning from them how to make them in my own life.
This led me to realize that I had to learn what the qualities of Jesus were. It was a whole lot more than just someone who is nice or pleasant to be around. Have you ever had a friend who was nice but cheated at games you played? What about friends who would talk about Jesus in a great way, but then they would go out and involve themselves in immorality?
Or being a sales person and stretching the truth regarding their products in order to get the sale? What about not following through on commitments made, leaving it to others to pick up the loose ends? What about someone one who is nice with everyone but has a habit of taking their frustrations out on their spouse? They might be wonderful to their spouse most of the time, but with some degree of frequency they let their anger fly wounding the one they say they love the most.
This was the one that I was so guilty of 25+ years ago. I was so blind to the anger I would let fly at home. I had to come to grips with the reality that in spite of all wonderful things I did for and with my wife, this one “fruit” was undermining it all. I was so embarrassed that my grasp of the obvious in this area was so totally malfunctioning. Fortunately, God dealt with it and me, and our marriage became better and stronger than ever. Using the fruit illustration we’ve been talking about, it was like seeing a beautiful apple and turning it in our hands and finding it rotten on the back. Thankfully, repentance and forgiveness works!! Jesus can touch that “apple” and make it rich and new.
The simple reality is that we don’t become perfect overnight – or in a lifetime. But when we are truly disciples of Jesus, the Holy Spirit enables us to more and more walk in His ways. We are continually being transformed into His image. We learn to recognize our sins much more quickly so that Godliness flourishes in every area of our lives. No matter where we are or what we’re doing or who we’re doing it with, we want our lives to glorify our Father in Heaven. This comes by bearing the fruit consistent with being full-time disciples of Jesus.