Paul’s Life and Fruit
One of the benefits of understanding your marching orders and living with a heavenly attitude was that Paul’s life produced valuable fruit.
Philippians 1:22 says, “If I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.” Clearly, as long as Paul lived on earth, he was going to produce fruit. Paul was determined to expand the Kingdom while he was on earth. His motivation and attitude drove him to put his hands in the harvest. He knew good things would happen because his heart was in the right place.
In Philippians 1:20 he wrote, “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” There was no false humility in Paul. There was nothing out of line with his confidence. He was motivated by heavenly rewards and he was absolutely positive that he would magnify Jesus to everyone he encountered, wherever he encountered them. Paul was certain Jesus would work in him and through him, making a difference in people’s lives, because his heart was set on heaven.
Keep in mind that Paul was in chains when he wrote this letter to the Philippian church—chained to a guard in horrible prison conditions. It was very likely that he would be found guilty of being a traitor to Rome and executed, and he was awaiting the final verdict while writing this letter. But Paul’s earnest and single desire was to magnify Christ and bear fruit for His Kingdom. He was not afraid of life or death. Henry and Norman Blackaby wrote
When God chose us, He also designed our lives to bear good fruit. This fruit includes our character as well as our service to God in His work. With the strong emphasis Jesus placed on bearing fruit (Luke 13:6–9), it is important to look and see what your life is yielding.
Once our motivation and our attitude are set on heaven, we can, like Paul, be uncomfortable about sticking around on earth, but it’s clear that while we’re here our lives need to produce lasting, worthwhile fruit. There may be a battle raging in us (heaven or harvest), and it’s a hard choice, but we must be rooted in eternity and still extend our hands to others.