I came across an inspiring paragraph written by an anonymous author, an excerpt:
Those of his followers who truly love Him will be lifted up (like a grapevine on a trellis, so that it gets more sunshine) and made to bear fruit. If we try to bear fruit on our own without allowing God his own time and plan, we are playing God ourselves -- the original sin. To insinuate we're in competition with other believers is heresy. Paul tells us that we are God's workmanship -- and because of this we can't rush what God is doing in our lives and in our hearts; we can't earn His favor, our salvation, or membership into a special club of elite believers. NONE of us can boast, because every work we do is like filthy rags to God when we're trying to impress him. God rewards FAITH above all else. When we do a work of love because He first loved us, that is an act of gratitude and demonstrates that we truly "get it". But if you do it to get brownie points, you're going to be disappointed. You can't rush the work God does in you to get you to the point where you bear fruit. The reason allegories of plants are used so frequently. There is a seed which must be planted, it must germinate and spring forth, mature, THEN bear fruit. Artificially inducing plants to bear fruit prematurely makes the fruit taste terrible, and negatively affects the health of the plant. God is the good gardener... He knows better than anyone else what each plant needs.
Amen. That clarifies a great deal. He tends His garden as He sees fit. Some of us grow weak and crooked; some of us grow strong and beautiful. We grow anyway. Whether you bear good fruit or bad fruit is up to you. I believe it depends on how much of His living water and light you decide to soak up.