Let me ask three questions. First, what is the fruit of an orange tree? In groups, I have heard answers of “an orange” and “seeds.” Some might also say that the tree produces leaves, shade, and a little windbreak–so these would be fruit of sorts. And each of those answers are at least partially correct.
Let me ask the question another way that may reveal the answer I am seeking. Why does an orange tree produce fruit? An orange tree does not produce fruit so you and I can enjoy eating an orange. An orange tree produces oranges so it can produce seeds that will grow into more orange trees. It produces oranges to continue the species. God made it that way. So the real fruit of an orange tree is an orange tree.
The Fruit of a Disciple
The questions get easier from here if you accept my previous explanation. What is the fruit of a disciple? Is it a discipled mind, heart, will, or life? Some would argue the fruit of a disciple is glorifying God. That response is hard to argue against. Could the fruit of a disciple be actions that make him/her look more like Jesus? Both of these last two responses head in the right direction. They partially answer the “why” question, but as the previous question obviously hinted, there is more.
Why did Jesus train twelve disciples? Was it to be with Him? Yes, but there was more. Was it to do good in the world? Yes, but there was more. Jesus trained disciples to “go and make disciples of the whole world” (Matthew 28:19-20). The disciple of Jesus understands that the fruit of a disciple is more disciples. Like the orange tree, a disciple is to multiply and continue the species.
How can you be sure that that your disciple will multiply? Before releasing your disciple, you will want to lead him or her to begin discipling someone else. You will want to continue to coach and encourage these early efforts. Multiplication matters. Be a disciple. Make disciples!