And every Branch that beareth fruit, He cleanseth, that it may bear more fruit.
The thought of fruit is so prominent in the eye of Him who sees things as they are, fruit is so truly the one thing God has set His heart upon, that our Lord, after having said, The branch that bears no fruit is taken away, at once adds: And where there is fruit, the one desire of the Husbandman is, More Fruit. As the gift of His grace, as the token of spiritual vigour, as the showing forth of the glory of God and of Christ, as the only way for satisfying the need of the world, God longs and fits for, more fruit.
More Fruit. This is a very searching word. As churches and individuals we are in danger of nothing so much as self-contentment. The secret spirit of Laodicea: We are rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing, may prevail where it is not suspected. The Divine warning: Poor and wretched and miserable, finds little response just where it is most needed.
Let us not rest content with the thought that we are taking an equal share with others in the work that is being done, or that men are satisfied with our efforts in Christ's service, or even point to us as examples. Let our only desire be to know whether we are bearing all the fruit Christ is willing to give through us as living Branches, in close and living union with Himself; whether we are satisfying the loving heart of the great Husbandman, our Father in heaven, in His desire for more fruit.
More Fruit. The word comes with Divine authority to search and test our life: the true disciple will heartily surrender himself to its holy light, and will earnestly ask that God Himself may show what there may be lacking in the measure or the character of the fruit he bears. Do let us believe that the Word is meant to lead us on to a fuller experience of the Father's purpose of love, of Christ's fulness, and of the wonderful privilege of bearing much fruit in the salvation of men.
More Fruit. The word is a most encouraging one. Let us listen to it. It is just to the Branch that is bearing fruit that the message comes: More fruit. God does not demand this as Pharaoh the taskmaster, or as Moses the lawgiver, without providing the means. He comes as a Father, who gives what He asks, and works what He commands. He comes to us as the living Branches of the living Vine, and offers to work the more fruit in us, if we but yield ourselves into His hands. Shall we not admit the claim, accept the offer, and look to Him to work it in us?
"That it may bear more fruit": do let us believe that as the owner of a vine does everything to make the fruitage as rich and large as possible, the Divine Husbandman will do all that is needed to make us bear more fruit. All He asks is, that we set our heart's desire on it, entrust ourselves to His working and care, and joyfully look to Him to do His perfect work in us. God has set His heart on more fruit; Christ waits to work it in us; let us joyfully look up to our Divine Husbandman and our Heavenly Vine, to ensure our bearing more fruit.
Our Father which art in heaven! Thou art the heavenly Husbandman. And Christ is the heavenly Vine. And I am a heavenly Branch, partaker of His heavenly life, to bear His heavenly fruit Father, let the power of His life so fill me, that I may ever bear more fruit, to the glory of Thy name.