“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:8
This “much fruit” is often found mostly in those with whom the Lord mostly deals. He has created His people for His own glory, and this He will secure to Himself in their abundant fruitfulness. This is why the most illustrious saints have ever been the most deeply tried, severely pruned: their great fruitfulness sprang from their great afflictions. And yet, beloved, the Lord deals with His saints according to His holy sovereignty; not by one line, or in one path, does He always conduct them. Is God smiling upon you? does the summer sun shine? is your sea smooth and flowing? does the “south wind” blow upon you? See, then, that you walk humbly with God; “Do not be high-minded, but fear.” If God in His providence has elevated you a little in the world, you have need to besiege His throne for great grace to keep your spirit low in the dust before Him. Do your fellows admire your talents, extol your gifts, applaud your works, and court your society? oh, how closely, and softly, and humbly ought you now to walk with God! That breath of adulation that lighted upon you will prove a blight upon your graces, if you go not upon your knees before God; that flattering word which fell upon your ear will prove as the fly in the apothecary’s ointment to your soul, if you get not closer down at the foot of the cross. Let every circumstance and state take you there; whether the north wind or the south wind blows, whether the dark cloud of adversity gathers over you, or the sunshine of prosperity beams upon you—still let your posture ever be low before the Savior’s cross: nothing can harm you there. See that the season of outward prosperity is the season of your soul’s fruitfulness; see that every mercy takes you to God; convert every new blessing into a fresh motive for living, not unto yourself, but unto Him from whom the blessing came.
And if you are constrained to take your worst frames to Christ, your sins as they rise, your weakness as you are conscious of it, your corruptions as they discover themselves, even so shall you be a fruitful branch of the true Vine. In the very act of going, just as he is, to Christ, the believer brings forth fruit. For what marks the frame of the soul thus traveling up to the cross, but self-distrust, self-abasement, deep conceptions of its own nothingness, high views of Christ’s sufficiency? And is not this precious and costly fruit? I know of none more so.
And let the fruitful believer anticipate the approaching period of his translation to a more genial and healthy soil. In heaven, the home of the saints, there will be nothing to blight the flower of grace; no frosts of winter, no burning heat of summer, no crushing storms, no sweeping tempests; the former things will all have passed away, and a new heaven and a new earth, in which dwells righteousness, shall have succeeded them. Happy hour of his release! Here he is a “lily among thorns;” there he will be a tree of righteousness, on which the storm will never rise, on which the sun will never set. – Octavius Winslow