You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. ~ John 15:16a
The final portion of our key verse speaks of producing eternal fruit, this comes after our chosenness, using our individuality, following rest or sabbath.
God created man and woman on the sixth day…on the first full day of existence for Adam and Eve, God rested. And so did Adam and Eve…After a busy day of being created, the next thing we did was hang out with God for a whole day. Then work began…From this we see an important principle of life: We are to work from our rest, not rest from our work…Fruitfulness happens in stages and seasons: abide, grow, bear fruit, prune, abide…We cannot bear fruit if we do not spend time abiding. ~ Mike Breen and Walt Kallestad, A Passionate Life
Influence is a representation of Christ in YOU! We are Chosen for Influence – that we might bear fruit.
“…all nutrients of heaven are offered to us…He brings us into a fruit-producing life that feeds and nourishes others. God chooses us, and we choose Him.” ~ Rebekah Lyons, You Are Free
We use our influence to help build the Kingdom of God, as a result of being rooted in Him, drawing on His strength.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. ~ John 15:4
There is a parable about a Useless Tree in Luke 13:6-9 that I find fascinating. What I noticed about the tree in the story Jesus tells is that it did not need uprooted but restored to health. It needed fertilizer and good soil added to its current location. This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite quotes:
Restoration is not a quick, prefabricated project that is thrown together. It is a deliberate and planned removal of the unwanted, a detailed refining of that which is to be preserved, and an addition of that which was not before. ~ Barbara Stephens, Psalms of Recovery: Meditations for Strength and Hope
A three-step process: remove, refine, and add. If we feel useless like we are not producing fruit perhaps our soil needs to be restored.
Do you need to add or remove something from your current situation…more exposure to God’s Word, an accountability partner to help remove weeds or rocks, a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit, some Sabbath/Solitude/Prayer?
We know from the Parable of the Sower that the types of soil were the crucial reason the seed did or did not grow. So we can ask ourselves are we producing fruit? Are we dwelling in God’s house, planted in good soil, resting in His presence?
God uses us to spread his knowledge everywhere like a sweet-smelling perfume. ~ II Corinthians 2:14b NCV
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. ~ John 15:16-17
An effective influence is sweet smelling and rooted in LOVE!
But our God helped us to be brave and to tell you his Good News. ~ I Thessalonians 2:2b NCV
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. ~ Acts 4:13 NIV
The way we have courage is to be with Jesus, abide in Him.
Never doubt that God has chosen you and given you the strength and ability to bear fruit. Remember that your individuality is going to make your influence look unique compared to others.
He who thinks everything must bloom when the strawberries are in bloom doesn’t know anything about apples. ~ Greek Proverb
For further encouragement to allow God to use you in His time and within your own unique style, I recommend reading The Trellis and the Seed: A Book of Encouragement for All Ages by Jan Karon.
But the godly will flourish…in the courts of our God. Even in old age, they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. ~ Psalm 92:12-14
You are Chosen, Chosen to be YOU, and Chosen for Influence.