If you desire kingdom fruit now, you need to abide in Jesus.

I guess you could call this Part Two of the spiritual lessons gained from my recent experience with my pepper plants (for Part One, click here). So, here goes another fun fact: pepper plants need to be pollinated to produce fruit. Usually, the transfer of pollen from one flower to another is done by bees and other pollinators.

Safety can’t be our only concern.

When my green peppers remained on the vine, but stayed green, my Dad reminded me that peppers have flowers and flowers need pollination. He smartly pointed out that it was hard for bees to pollinate my garden because my plants were “safely” growing inside a screened-in cage.  So, while the plants were indeed safe from pests and disease, the safety I provided caused their inability to fully mature. They needed the bees, too, not just soil, water and sun.

The same thing is true for Christians. We can choose to be “caged” in the name of protection or comfort, but playing it safe isn’t a pathway to maturity for us, anymore than it is for my pepper plant.

 Spiritual abiding is the key to spiritual fruitfulness.

Let’s pause to hear again something Jesus said in John 15:1-4: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes to make it even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”

An abundant vine is a healthy vine, and a healthy vine has a keeper. My pepper plants need me, a vineyard needs a vine keeper, and we need Jesus. We need cutting, pruning, and care so we can produce fruit. Fruit requires actively remaining on the vine and with the vinedresser. That’s more than just believing in the vine or being saved by the vine.

You can’t be separated from the vine and be spiritually fruitful, too.

Jesus is calling us to cling to Him, to stay rooted in Him, so we can develop fruit that comes from His vine. This protects us from stunted growth caused by the perceived ‘safety’ of isolation. We can’t go rogue or strike out on our own thinking we’re abiding when we’re barely clinging.

You need the bees to grow.

But to produce fruit we have to be “pollinated” by others. We need other people to produce fruit. So, the spiritual lesson here is that our maturity is connected to community.  As the ‘keeper’ of my pepper plant, I did not provide everything the plant needed to fully mature. Yes, it needs nutrients, sun, water, soil and a keeper, but it needs the “bees,” too. So, remain in Jesus – cultivating your walk through time with Him. Stay in community because you need the people to help you bear fruit. That’s the key to abundant Kingdom fruit (read Galatians 5:22) now, and pretty much the key to me finally getting actual peppers on my pepper plant.