Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Life of Fruitfulness

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask … that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10)

In verse 6, Paul gave thanks to God that the gospel was bearing fruit and being increased all over the world, and that it had come to the Colossians. (The Greek word for “being increased” is not in the Greek text from which the NKJV version, above, was translated, but it does appear in some older manuscripts.) It echoes the mandate God first gave the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden: “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).

Now in verse 10, Paul picks up on that theme again in his pastoral prayer. He asks that these believers in Jesus may now be fruitful in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God. (Actually, the verb for “increase” is in the passive form, i.e., “being increased” — but that is for another day.)

God has always been interested in fruitfulness. It is part of the series of blessings in Deuteronomy 28: “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks” (Deuteronomy 28:4). It is part of the happiness and prosperity of those who meditate on the instruction of the Lord.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
Then there is the teaching Jesus gave to the disciples on the night of the Last Supper, about the vine and the branches:
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:5, 8, 16).
In Galatians, Paul talks about the “fruit of the Spirit,” in contrast to the “works of the flesh.”
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
This fruit cannot be produced by keeping laws or observing rules; it is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring forth this fruit, which is the character of Jesus. Fruit is the overflow of the life of the vine, the life of Jesus at work in us. Our part is to yield to this life and the fruit will come.

(For more on fruitfulness, see The Fruit of the Righteous ~ A Tree of Life, Don’t Strain, Abide and Transformed by the Holy Spirit.)

*For more about the pastoral prayers found in the New Testament, see Praying With Fire: Change Your World with the Powerful Prayers of the Apostles.

The Focus of Our Faith
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles

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