“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit;
so shall ye be my disciples.”
The bearing of much fruit not only brings glory to God, but proves such rich fruit-bearers to be genuine disciples of the Lord Jesus. Now, though there is no merit in their bearing fruit, they sometimes get comfort from it, as proving an abiding union with Christ. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” There is no maintaining of holy confidence in the soul but by walking in godly obedience; nor can there be any true spiritual communion with God whilst the guilt of disobedience lies hard and heavy on the conscience. To make straight paths for our feet; to walk in the fear of God; to live to his glory, are not only sweet tests of genuine discipleship, but faith, hope, and love cannot be maintained without them.
And yet if we know anything of what gospel fruit is, and what we are as poor, vile sinners, must we not too often put our mouth in the dust? Instead of rejoicing in our fruitfulness, must we not often rather lament our barrenness, and cry out, “My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!” Still, if we see and feel a deficiency in these points in ourselves and others, and, comparing our hearts, lips, and lives with the word of truth, must plead guilty, shall this utterly discourage us? No. This very discouragement may prove of service to us. It is good, at times, to be discouraged; because it makes us learn that “without Christ we can do nothing,” and that it is only by his grace that we can produce fruit to his glory. It is, therefore, good to see and feel our barrenness and unfruitfulness; for it is this very sight and sense of our own want of fruit that leads us in earnest desires to the Lord Jesus Christ to work in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869