The Apostle Paul, in Colossians 1:10, says his hope for his audience is “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.” Having a thorough knowledge of the Word of God, even having it hidden in your heart, will cause some peculiar things to happen: You will discover that you will begin thinking and acting differently. You will handle conflict and hardship with a level of grace you never thought you could display.
God’s Word: The Instrument for Change
When the Word of God gets into you, it changes you: It produces fruit others are able to see. Your understanding of Scripture is not shown by how well you can quote verses or engage in theological discussion—it is displayed through your walk with God.
God produces fruit through us when we plant ourselves in an environment for growth. It’s not a matter of achievement with our own hands and through our own strength. What’s important is what you allow God to produce in you. Ministry is something that is received, not something that is achieved; it is a gift to us, not our gift to God.
Jesus would agree with that statement. He says in John 15:4–5, “Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.”
Paul echoes this sentiment in two passages. First, in Ephesians 2:8–10 he states, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” Second, Paul states in Philippians 2:12–13, “Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.”
It is God who works in you! You do not walk in your power, and you do not produce ministry by your own hands. Martin Luther asks and answers poignant questions with clarity in regards to this sometimes difficult issue in the lyrics to his hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”:
Did we in our own strength confide
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He.
Lord Sabaoth His name,
From age to age the same.
And He must win the battle.
Faithfulness to Fruitfulness
Faithfulness to God leads to fruitfulness, which is handy since he is the one who plants us, sustains us, waters us, prunes us and shines on us. None of the fruit you produce is produced on your own, for you cannot produce any fruit. God alone can produce fruit in you. So be faithful in the vineyard or ministry in which you are planted, for God brings the harvest.
The above is an excerpt from Bearing Fruit: What Happens When God’s People Grow. You can learn more about the book on our website. You can also download a FREE copy of Chapter 1.
This article originally appeared here.