Crucify the Self
There is a reason why God uses the imagery of bearing fruit so frequently throughout the Bible. One interpretation of the concept of bearing fruit is a process of multiplication through death. This word requires discernment; I am not advocating suicide in any way, nor am I sponsoring any fruit aside from those of the Spirit. Truly, anyone who wants to enter the Kingdom of God must put themselves to death. When a fruit falls to the ground from a tree, it decays and dies, and goes into the ground. Through the fruit’s death, more fruit can grow from its seeds, and the process can continue and bear even more fruit for the future.
If It Dies, It Bears Much Fruit
This concept of bearing fruit is what Christ addresses in John 12:24-25 (ESV): “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” When thinking about a single grain of wheat, it can feed a person and provide nourishment for them, to a degree--whether that person is full or not from it is another question. The point is that the grain helped feed someone to some extent. The potential for us to do good is like the single head of grain, which represents the fruit within us as individual persons. The extent to which one bears fruit determines the extent to which one can do good.
If a grain of wheat represents ourselves, as Christ identifies, it remains alone if it does not die. The grain represents our existence--our person, our self. A grain of wheat can feed someone, but there is only so much food available on a single stalk. It is the same with us. The amount of self that obstructs our life limits our capacity to do good. Our flesh--the self-seeking and prideful reality of our nature--is the self within us that inhibits the multiplication of fruit.