Pablo Casals was considered to be the preeminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century. When he was still playing his cello in the middle of his tenth decade of life, a young reporter asked, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 years old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?”

Mr. Casals answered, “Because I think I’m making progress.”

What a great attitude! As believers in Christ, we should never be satisfied to think we have reached some self-proclaimed pinnacle of spiritual success, but rather continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Jesus reminds us in John 15:16 that He chose us to “go and bear fruit.” The result of healthy growth is continuing to bear spiritual fruit throughout our lives. Our Lord promises: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit” (v.5).

In a steady and faithful progression to become more and more like the One we love and serve, we can be confident that He who began “a good work” in us will continue it until it is finally finished on the day when He returns (Phil. 1:6).

Closer yet I’d cling, my Savior,
You’re the all-sufficient Vine;
You alone can make me fruitful,
Blessed source of strength divine. —Bosch

God’s unseen work in our hearts produces fruit in our lives.

Insight

Two ideas appear repeatedly in today’s passage: love and obedience. The two are related, and it is important to understand their order and priority. In verse 9, Jesus reminds His disciples that He has loved them. In verse 10, He tells them that obedience to His commands is the way to respond to that love. God’s love for us is the first and primary part of our relationship with Him, and obedience—which leads to bearing fruit—is our response.