John 15:8, Jesus tells us, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.” When we are followers of Jesus Christ, it is important for us to have proof of this faith. Not just for the encouragement of other believers, but to show those who don’t believe that the Gospel is real.
So, what does that look like? Let’s examine some of the traits of a fruitful disciple.
A Confident Prayer Life
John 15: 7 describes the prayer life of a disciple:
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”
Here, the word abide doesn’t merely mean to hang around or wait. It bears the connotation of endurance, and a sense of expectancy. That is how we must see biblical hope. In the world, the word hope means to “wish.” In the Bible, it refers to a sense of holy expectation – not so much “hoping,” but knowing that God is going to come through for you in a way that is consistent with His word.
When those around us see that we are confident that God is going to come through for us, the chances are better that they will take the Gospel more seriously because they see that it works.
A Joyful Heart
Take a look at John 15:11:
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
It is important to understand that being full of joy doesn’t mean to feel “happy.” When circumstances are not ideal in the life of a fruitful disciple, he or she may still have a feeling of sadness or disappointment, but have a sense of peace at the same time. This is a picture of biblical joy – having a deep peace about a situation out of knowledge that God’s perspective is different and that He is all-knowing.
The world is not looking for us to lead perfect lives; they are watching us to see how we handle it when we don’t.
A Genuine Love for Others
A love for Christ and indifference toward someone else cannot successfully coexist. In John 13:35, Jesus tells us that, “All men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
As stated above, the world is watching us. Love for someone else is not dictated by a feeling, it is represented by a choice – and an action. When we choose to love other people by our service to them, even those who are unlovable, we are speaking volumes about the very real and overtaking power of the Gospel.
It is to our Father’s glory that we bear much fruit, and it is also important to the Great Commission:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)
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*All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible.