Bearing Fruit Because We’re Already Loved
Part 5 of the Codependent in Colossians Series
by Kim Pullen
Series Manifesto: Instead of ignoring the pain following the disclosure of our spouse’s sexual sin, we choose to use our trauma as a catalyst for growth, digging deeply into God’s Word in search of spiritual healing and transformation.
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work…”
This is the second in a five-part miniseries on Colossians 1:10-12. Read Part 1.
Paul subtly challenges the Colossians, and by extension us, to “bear fruit” not because we need to prove our worth to God, but because he has already made us worthy with the cross.
Fruit, Works & their Origin
What does it even mean to “bear fruit”? Just like an apple tree can only bear apples, so a person can only reproduce in his own life what he or she puts into it. In John 15, Jesus directly and indirectly implies that bearing fruit for God simply means being so connected to Him that our automatic inclination is to do what he did. In fact, if we are connected to him, it’s impossible for us not to replicate Jesus’ heart and actions.
By extension, just as we wouldn’t expect a severed branch from an apple tree to continue producing apples so it’s also impossible for us to bear fruit unless we are connected to Christ. In fact, bearing fruit is the proof or evidence that we are Christians (15:8). No fruit, no proof.
Some examples of this fruit are found in Galatians 5:22-23—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Like me, I think most people who classify themselves as codependents, work very hard to bear fruit. Where we get it wrong is why we do it.
My Default Motivation
I was emotionally rejected or abandoned by my dad and fought every day of my childhood to prove I was worthy of his love. Now as an adult, it’s my default. I don’t want it to be—I despise this impulse—but it’s what I’m most familiar and even comfortable with.
In my recovery process, I realized sometimes my passion for excellence in everything is my way of proving to myself and others that I’m good enough. If I can make my “works”—which are an extension of myself—perfect, then I can be “perfect” and therefore prove I’m competent, spiritual, worthy of respect, and ultimately worthy of love.
But each time I look to other sinful people—including my spouse—to validate me, I exchange the truth of God for a lie. Not only is it unfair to these people since they ill-equipped to handle such pressure or responsibility, but it’s quite literally idolatry, seeking something from a created being (people) that only the Creator is designed to provide (Romans 1:25).
Because of this, I need to continually examine my motives and be deliberate about where I get affirmation and validation.
I am called to bear fruit for God not because I need to earn His love but because I already have it.
This statement is so easy to write, but anyone who has a clue about their codependent defaults knows doing it continuously and constantly is extraordinarily challenging. The only way we can master it is by deliberately transforming our minds with God’s Word (Romans 12:1-2).
Only when we daily drink deeply from the scriptures can we stay connected to the vine so we can bear fruit like Jesus and do it with the right motives.
Question: If you have codependent tendencies, how do they reveal themselves as you seek to bear fruit for God? How can you evaluate and purify your motives?
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