Bearing fruit is what believers are called to do. It is the outward actions or evidence of the change taking place on the inside. The fruit we produce is the result of our relationship and walk with Christ.
We often talk about the fruit we bear and our personal walk with Christ. This was the topic I planned to discuss until God placed something else in my spirit. Fruitfulness is something we should desire in all areas of our life. For me, God's focus of emphasis has been fruitfulness within the context of friendship.
I have always maintained various levels of friendship in my life, and in my current season, God is having me reassess and realign. In many cases, it's been easy, but challenging in others. There have been moments I felt like I was grieving from a "loss"—I can now say perceived loss). The prominent question I ask in assessing a friendship is, "is this friendship fruitful?"
We must have the same level of inspection for the fruitfulness of our friendships as we have for the fruitfulness in our lives. I know it may feel a bit rigid or surgical, but it is necessary. But why is that? Because when you are in a relationship with people, influence is exchanged. Friends influence how you think, behave, and speak. If your friendships don't produce good fruit or lowers the quality of your fruit, then I ask, "Why are you in relationship with them?"
In the most general sense, do your friendships make you better? Do they aid in moving the needle in your personal walk with Christ? Does the relationship support you bearing the fruit God has called you to bear?
If not, what is the purpose of the relationship? Understand that I am not saying everyone in your life needs to offer this to you. Sometimes there are people in our life that we are called to mentor and guide. We are sent to pour into them with no level of reciprocation. I am talking about your inner circle. The ones you spend quality time with, share personal life details with, laugh with, cry together, the ones you take the mask off for.
What does it mean to have a fruitful friendship?
(This is J.Branch's opinion, but my prayer is that you can glean something for your own friendships from what I share.)
Fruitful friendships should:
EMPOWER. Friends encourage us to know who we are in Christ, discover our gifts and talents, and use them. They are also a support system when we are burdened and when we are blessed.
ENCOURAGE. Friends inspire us to have a close and authentic relationship with Christ, which in turn produces the spiritual fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5: 19-22). Our friends help us to continue to produce the fruit and make the needed changes by holding up mirrors to help us to see potential blind spots in areas where we can grow.
EMBRACE. Your friends allow you to be authentic and transparent without fear of judgment. However, while they welcome you as you are, they call you higher. They desire you to evolve and to be better than who you are today. They don't allow you to settle because they recognize your potential and won't let you waste it.
They are also EQUIPPED to
In all that we do with our friendships, it should make us better believers, equipped to be reflections of Christ to non-believers.
If we really wanted to simplify this more, ask yourself this- Do your friendships bring about or help you to be display love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, forbearance, and self-control? Or do your relationships cause sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, envy, drunkenness, dissensions, orgies, and the likes? Even if 95% of the friendship produces the fruit of the former, we know that one bad fruit can spoil the bunch. That one fruit, that one behavior is enough to cause you to stumble in your walk with Christ.
I don't know about you, but I do not want to be the cause of my friends stumbling. They may stumble, and we all do, but I want to be the one who helps them up, not causes them to fall down.
Take Away: It's not enough to bear fruit. You are not only a fruit bearer but also a fruit inspector. If the relationships in your life are not bearing fruit, we must examine the relationship and determine if it can be salvaged to make it fruitful or if its season has come to an end, and we need to uproot it. Does this friendship push you closer to God, or does it draw you away from Him?
Until Next Time~
J.Branch is a wife, mother and child of God. She is passionate about helping others live the life they desire, have fruitful relationships and know who they were created to be and to live a life of purpose.
To connect with me about speaking or facilitating please contact me at contact me.