Which comes first, the fruit or the root?

I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. John 15:5

John 15:1-8.

I sometimes mistake the fruit for the root. I find myself focusing more on the results than the reason. And that’s backwards. Here’s what Jesus taught about fruit– God defines and determines it; people don’t.

We like to put a number on things. In any endeavor, we set goals and are told to make them measurable. But, in our spiritual lives, we can’t do that. You can’t measure your own fruitfulness, or anyone else’s, because God defines what is fruit, not us. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isa. 55:8-9). What looks like potential to us is often barrenness to God (Matt. 21:19-20).

What we do doesn’t make us great Christians or mediocre ones. Whether or not Louie Giglio ever gets to write, “Led prayer at the Presidential Inauguration” on his resume’ doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not God is using him to accomplish much for the kingdom. What I do doesn’t define my relationship with Christ. Even if I am mute and my fingers paralyzed and unable to move at the keyboard, God sees the same amount of potential in me as He does if I’m living out the Jabez dream. When we remain in Christ, there will definitely be fruit; it just might not look like we expect or want it to.

We want to see the results because we have been conditioned to elevate the fruit over the root. Jesus’ words in John 15 remind us the futility in that way of thinking and living. We can’t do anything that He would call “fruitful” without Him. So the results of our faithfulness aren’t ours to try to determine, measure, or define.

Whether or not you think you’re making an impact on the world around you doesn’t affect His ability to use you without your knowledge. Whether or not people recognize the fruit of God in your life doesn’t make it any less sweet to Him. Whatever you’re doing today, remain in Him. And let Him take care of the rest.

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