John 15:5 “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.
Have you ever thought about how wonderful it is to do things right? To be told, “Good job!” To have people express their gratitude for what you’ve done or for whom you are? Boy, talk about something that puts a spring in your step!
Yes, such comments can lead to pride, but they also can lead to us experiencing a heartfelt gratitude for what God has done and is doing in our lives. Importantly, they can be such an encouragement to do more ‘right’ things; to be more of a ‘right’ person; and in the context of today’s verse, to bear more fruit. Better still is the desire God gives us to learn what those ‘right’ things are and do them more and more.
Think of sports, hobbies, relationships, work – our goal is to do them well. The reality is that more often than not, the wrong is eliminated simply by doing the right! Being kind eliminates unkindness; being patient eliminates impatience; being thoughtful eliminates thoughtlessness; being generous eliminates stinginess; being loving eliminates being unloving; being other-oriented eliminates self-centeredness.
Then as we bear these wonderful fruits of righteousness, the Holy Spirit asks us, “How would you like to do them even better?” “How would you like to bear more fruit?” To which, we reply. “Oh yes Lord! Show me how!” And He does so, in a most affirming way.
There’s an old song that Bing Crosby made famous: Accentuate the Positive. The first three lines are
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
/ Eliminate the negative / Latch on to the affirmative
This is the point! Our attitude about repentance goes through a significant switch. Instead of its focus being our wrong doing, the focus becomes “Eliminating the negative” so we can “Latch on to the affirmative.” It becomes a vital tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit to enable us to bear more of His righteous fruit. The more fruit we bear the more joy we have and the more we glorify our God. It’s not about us. It’s all about Him.