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.John 15:5
Recently, I read a devotion by Martin Luther on this passage from John. It’s amazing to me, as much as our world has changed, nothing has really changed. You may not be plowing a field by hand or loading a wagon with manure but we all still deal with the same issues that Luther’s congregation dealt with 500 years ago when Luther was alive. Enjoy this quote from Luther’s devotion on extraordinary fruit.
“False Christians cannot understand what Jesus is saying in this passage. They wonder, “What kind of Christians are these people? They can’t do anything more than eat and drink, work in their homes, take care of their children, and push a plow. We can do all that and better.” False Christians want to do something different and special—something above the everyday activities of an ordinary person. They want to join a convent, lie on the ground, wear sackcloth garments, and pray day and night. They believe these works are Christian fruit and produce a holy life. Accordingly, they believe that raising children, doing housework, and performing other ordinary chores aren’t part of a holy life. For false Christians look on external appearances and don’t consider the source of their works—whether or not they grow out of the vine.”
Luther spoke from experience. He had been an Augustinian monk and had searched for the Lord in many of these so called spiritual exercises. All they brought him was emptiness, frustration, and disillusionment. That all changed for him when discovered the source of all life. His eyes were opened when he read “the just shall live by faith”. In an instant he saw it and in an instant everything changed. It wasn’t his works that justified him before God, it was the works of Christ Himself. Righteousness was not something we do but something we receive as a gift by faith.
How does that relate to bearing fruit? Are we supposed to do nothing because we have been declared righteous? Of course not! Christ lives in us now and all our work can become the fruit of Christ working in us. Our daily job can take on a spiritual quality. We are doing our work as unto the Lord. We may be loading a truck, working at a computer, making sales in a retail store, or maybe even shoveling some kind of manure. As a Christian all of our work is extraordinary. We are doing our work as unto the Lord. He is in us and expressing Himself in our daily activities. So we don’t have to wait for the next retreat, conference, or ministry trip to become spiritual. We are walking with Him daily. He is in us. As we abide in Him and He abides in us we bare much fruit. This is the place where God is glorified and we are satisfied. This is an extraordinary life bearing extraordinary fruit.