Reflections – 2019.10

Glorifying God: Fruitfulness

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

– Westminster Shorter Catechism

“It is not profession, but fruit that glorifies God.  God expects to have his glory from us in this way.”

– Thomas Watson, from A Body of Divinity

I love blueberries.  We have a good number of blueberry bushes in our backyard and have worked hard to give them a place to flourish.  This last year was a particularly good year, likely due to more careful attention given to the bushes by Jenny, as well as the right soil, water, sun, etc… conditions.   Blueberry bushes that produce few or no blueberries are not worth a whole lot – maybe a pruning will help, maybe they need to be pulled up.  Blueberry bushes that produce a lot of blueberries, well, they make us happy.

What does it mean to glorify God?  It means that our desire will be to be like one of those abundantly fruitful blueberry bushes.  Watson says that it’s not just a profession that glorifies God (although the angels do rejoice when a soul repents and comes to Christ), but it is a life of fruit.   Paul says things like, “we are his [the LORD’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  In other words, you weren’t newly created in Christ just to be in Christ, but to do stuff, and planned out stuff at that!

The alternative does not glorify God. In the book of Jeremiah, there is this section where the LORD is speaking about how His people had broken their covenant with them.  Jeremiah writes, “The LORD once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’”   That was the vision, that was the intent.  But the people in their sin and idolatry had become fruitless.  They may have had a profession, they just didn’t bear any fruit.  Jeremiah continues, “The LORD of hosts, who planted you, has decreed disaster against you …”  He was about to cut down the tree (i.e., Jerusalem was about to fall).

As Christians, the LORD is determined to bear fruit in us.  The Holy Spirit has been poured out on us as a gift, and He bears fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  The LORD sees us in Christ and He sees ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit’ … Spirit fruit.  Still, even if we are not in ourselves producing the fruit (that’s the Spirit’s work), we are called to be about those things that create the conditions for fruit-bearing.  Paul says that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  We need to be killing those things which would keep us from bearing fruit. And as mentioned before, we are to “walk” in the good works the LORD has prepared for us to do.  The Scripture is full of other ways we can prepare for a life of fruit-bearing.  Sow bountifully (i.e., be generous with your time, money, resources), pray without ceasing, repent of your sin, give thanks always, sing praises to God, stand firm in the truth of the Gospel, know God’s Word, share with others about Jesus, and so much more!

Talking alone does not bring glory to God.  An empty blueberry bush is still a blueberry bush, but it brings no real joy to the owner.  So don’t be an empty bush.  Work on the conditions, delight in the LORD’s work in you and know that the LORD is glorified when He looks into the hearts and lives of His people and sees fruit, good fruit, abundant fruit.