Biblical Principles of Spiritual Fruitfulness
In Part-1 of this series, we examined John 15:1-8. God the Father is looking for spiritual fruit in the lives of His children and prunes them to make their lives more fruitful. Jesus said that if we abide in Him (Jesus), then we will bear fruit. The key to spiritual fruitfulness is abiding in Christ. This post explains 7 Biblical principles you can follow to actively participate in pruning your own life to increase your spiritual fruitfulness.
Does Your Life Need Pruning? – Part-2
Jesus said that the Father prunes those who are abiding in Him (Christ), so they will bear more fruit (John 15:2). Pruning is not meant to hurt you, or suck the fun out of life. It is meant to make you better by making your more fruitful.
The key to spiritual fruitfulness is abiding in Christ
Christians who really want to please and glorify God should be grateful to have sin and harmful influences removed from their lives (John 15:8). At times, even good things may need to be removed to make room for better and best.
Actively Partner with God in Pruning
Paul said, “if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (1 Corinthians 11:31). The way to partner with God in the pruning process is to recognize what needs to be pruned out of your life and proactively take action yourself.
God’s children should want to produce abundant spiritual fruit. We should want to remove the things that hold us back. We should “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares” us (Hebrews 12:1-2).
This process, of course, should be conducted in harmony with the Spirit of God. You should pray for guidance as you search God’s Word, seeking His will.
7-Steps to Spiritual Fruitfulness
This section lists seven Biblical principles for increasing your fruitfulness.
1. First, you must critically and honestly examine your life
• As the apostle Paul said, “Let a man examine himself . . .” (1 Corinthians 11:28a)
• And “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. . .” (2 Corinthians 13:5a / ESV).
We need to identify the worldly weeds in our lives that are choking our fruitfulness. We must not let the cares of this world or the deceitfulness of riches choke us spiritually, causing us to forget our Savior’s Word and quench God’s Spirit who dwells within us.
We must identify the distractions in our life that interfere with our spiritual growth and service. We must remember that we are servants, eliminating anything that would keep us from serving God will all of our heart and soul
We need to take diligent heed to love the LORD our God, walk in all His ways, cleave to Him, and serve Him with all our hearts and souls (Joshua 22:5).
2. Confess any sin in your life
God knows our hearts better than we do because we deceive ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9). God knows everything we think do and say. We cannot hide anything from God.
Confession is just admitting the sinful truth about ourselves to the omniscient God who already knows. But confession begins in the heart. It begins with God’s Word and Spirit revealing your sin to you, and being humble enough to agree with God.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
3. Repent of any Routine or habitual sins in your life, and Remove them
Confession of sin should naturally lead to genuine repentance from sin. When will agree that our words and ways are sinful and grieve our loving Father, it should break our hearts and make us want to change. We should want to turn from our sin and abandon anything that poisons our relationship with our creator and redeemer.
If you identify and weeds or distractions in your life that hinder your service for God or your relationship with Him, then you need to remove them.
• “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works . . .” (Revelation 2:5).
• “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19).
• “Lay aside every . . . sin” (Hebrews 12:1).
4. Ditch the Doubtful
The Bible does not provide specific instructions for every situation. In these cases, even sincere Christians may disagree about what is acceptable. Romans 14:1-23 and 1 Corinthians 10:12-33 both provide guidance about doubtful things. You should never violate your conscience. And you should be willing to give some things up for the benefit of others.
Unless you are fully convinced that something is acceptable, it is wrong for you
Ultimately it is better to sacrifice things that might be permissible than to do something you think may be wrong. Unless you are fully convinced that something is acceptable, it is wrong for you to do. As the old saying goes, “If it is doubtful, it is dirty.”
If you want to do something, but have doubts about it, then study it out. Study God’s Word, pray about it, and seek godly counsel. But do not do it unless you are fully convinced that it is acceptable. Never violate your conscience.
• The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (Romans 14:22 / NASB).
• “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23 / ESV).
• “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 / KJV).
5. Diminish Distractions
Identify any areas in your life where you often invest excessive time, energy, or attention. These things may not be bad or sinful in of themselves, but they can become idols if you love them more than God. Even good things can be bad if they keep you from doing what is best.
Hobbies, sports, and entertainment often fall into this category. They may be good in moderation but can be overdone. Even family, friends, and work can interfere with your fruitfulness. You do not have to cut these things out of your life entirely, but you may need to trim some of them back.
Even good things can be bad if they keep you from doing what is best
• In 1 Corinthians, Paul said that all things are lawful, but not everything is expedient. Not everything edifies us or makes us better. And we should not let anything bring us under its power (1 Cor. 6:12; and 1 Cor. 10:23).
• We are also commanded, “Love not the world, neither the things in the world . . .” (1 John 2:15-17).
• While you do not have to stop these things entirely, sometimes “complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation” (St. Augustine).
6. Filter your Friends
You become like those you spend time with. Are your friends helping you grow spiritually or hindering you?
What are your friends like? Do they love God or the world? Do they talk about spiritual things or the things of the world? Do they want to please God or their peers? Are they seeking spiritual fruit or worldly pleasure?
Are your friends helping you . . . or hindering you?
• “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
• “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Prov. 13:19).
• “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
7. Replace what you Remove
Most of what we do is habitual. Breaking habits is hard. And as the saying goes, “nature abhors a vacuum.”
If you want to succeed in removing something bad from your life, it is important to replace it with something good. This applies to habits, friends and food; anything you try to prune from your life.
After all, the whole reason for removing sin, distractions, and negative influences from your life is to make room for better things. It is to free up your time, energy and affections for godly habits and pursuits.
The goal of this pruning is to increase your spiritual fruitfulness by becoming more like Jesus. So replace the things you remove with fruitful activities that will please and honor God.
Are you ready to voluntarily go to work pruning your own life? Or will you wait for God to do it all for you?
To prune or be pruned, that is the question
What will you do?
This concludes part-2 of this two part series on Pruning.
If you have not read “Do you need Pruning” – part-1, Please Click Here to be taken to it.
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