It will hopefully have become clear that we cannot be fruitful alone; just reflecting on the fruit of the Spirit should show us that. In this study, we are going to consider what it means to be a fruitful community, to be fruitful together. We also are told in the Bible that the fruit we bear is meant to be fruit that lasts; we can be fruitful in whatever season of life we pass through, including difficult and barren times. If our roots go down deep into God (and we will look at how we do this in the next two studies) then we can bear fruit that lasts, in all seasons.
Key Bible Passages
May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. (Genesis 28:3)
And God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. (Genesis 35:11)
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither –
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. (Psalm 1)
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.’ (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
The second son he named Ephraim and said, ‘It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.’ (Genesis 41:52)
Other Bible Passages: Ezekiel 47:12; John 15:16-17. Genesis 37-50 (the story of Joseph)
Questions for Reflection and Application
- How do we know, from these scriptures and others, that fruitfulness involves being part of a community?
- What do you think a fruitful Christian community will look like in practice?
- What do we learn from these passages about what we need to do in order to be able to bear fruit in every season and stage of life? What have you learned from your own experience about this?
- What will fruitfulness in a land of suffering and hardship – including lockdown – look like?
Read or listen to (on audio Bibles) the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50. Look at how God made him fruitful in whatever season of life, including ‘in the land of his suffering’. Also, note how part of that fruitfulness meant being reconciled to his brothers – family and community restored.
There is a PDF version of this study here.