We have all heard about by-products, often in the negative sense. Secondhand smoke is a byproduct of smoking. Air pollution is a by-product of factory work. Traffic congestion is a by-product of the invention of the car, and noise pollution might be the result of nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
There have also been many positive by-products as well. Besides the molasses mentioned above, we could add the straw gained from grain harvesting, salt from desalination of water, or sawdust from the refining of lumber. Innovative ways to conduct business as well as a reset on our values have been some unexpected positive byproducts of the pandemic.
However, I was surprised when I read my April 25th Experiencing God devotional to learn of a by-product I never thought was a by-product. And yet it is. It centered around John 15:5 which reads, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
So often we get caught up in doing things for God, and judging our spirituality by the fruit we believe we produce. But the authors remind their readers, that fruit is the by-product not the emphasis of the verse. The main product is a person’s relationship with Christ. The “abiding.” Though it doesn’t sound as exciting or active, the truth is, the stronger the relationship, the more fruit. The weaker the relationship, the less fruit. Therefore, we should not be concerned so much with the fruit but with the health of our relationship with Christ. The fruit will naturally follow.