Abide in Christ to Bear Fruit
Dr. George Samuel
The essence of Christian belief is our living relationship with the risen Christ. This is a subjective experience but with an objective reality behind it. Christ lives His life in the believer. This makes it possible for us to live a meaningful and purposeful life in this world.
Living in Christ has to do with our faith. We believe that Jesus is God’s Son (1 John 4: 15). “If you believe that Jesus is the Christ - that He is God’s Son and your Saviour - then you are a child of God.” And it says: “All who love the Father love His children too” (1 John 5:1). We become part of God’s family, with fellow believers as brothers and sisters. We are called to accept and love them. It also says doing what God says (1 John 3:24) and continuing in faith (1 John 2:24).
Love Christ and Bear Fruit:
The Lord wants us to be fruitful and useful to Him. Just like a branch attached to the vine, we are to abide in Christ and bear fruit. Apart from Him our efforts are unfruitful. The fruitful branches are true believers who by their living union with Christ produce much fruit. The fruit of a disciple of Christ is another disciple. But fruit is not limited to soul-winning. Prayer, joy and love are mentioned as fruit (John 15: 7,11,12). The fruit from us include the qualities of Christ (Galatians 5:22,23; 2 Peter 1:58).
When people around us see the Christ-like quality of our responses and conduct, they are attracted to Christ. Not only is the message communicated through us, but we also bear fruit in bringing others to Christ. Our intimacy with Christ is developed as we draw close to Him. Our walk with the Lord is also a means for others to turn away from their sin. It is God’s will that we develop intimacy with Him. The blood of Christ has qualified us to have intimacy with Him (Hebrews 10:22). We need to receive nourishment and life offered by Christ in order to bear fruit.
We are known by what we are. We are known as His disciples when we produce bountiful fruit. So we communicate by what we are. People catch messages from us. This is God’s way of using our life and testimony as a means to communicate the gospel. The message should come out of us naturally and spontaneously. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit comes out of us in the course of our daily living.
Love Christ’s People and Serve:
We are to love one another as Jesus loved us (John 13:34,35). There are various ways we can demonstrate our sacrificial love for others: listening, helping, encouraging and giving to others. We are asked to obey Christ because we love Him (John 14:23,24). Here, instead of calling us slaves, our Master calls us friends. Our obedience should be unqualified and complete.
When we do what Christ tells us to do, we are known as His friends. We communicate certain messages to people around us by what we do. We must do everything as if for Christ (Colossians 3: 23,24). We are aware of the fact that actions speak louder than words. We can also be examples to others by excelling in what we do. The power of such a life-example is valuable for the propagation of the Gospel. It is also our Christian responsibility to meet the human needs around us. Someone has said, “If we turn a blind eye to the social needs of people, let us not be surprised if they turn a deaf ear to our message.” Because we are in Christ, it becomes possible to receive His love (Romans 5:5). Love motivates us to serve people and to meet their needs. When love is present in our activities, they become services. Activities deficient of love cannot become services; they remain as mere activities. One may be able to write reports about activities, but they cannot be called services or ministries.
When we abide in Christ, we are able to think His thoughts after Him. In order to do right, we need to think right (Philippians 4: 8). It will be thoughts of excellence, not thoughts that tear us down or tear others down. As attitudes are the product of our thought life, we are able to shape our attitude conforming to that of Christ. The living Christ in us makes it possible for us to rule over circumstances. So we need not allow circumstances to rule over us. We can refuse to let fear and disappointments defeat us.
Love Christ’s Work and Be Witnesses:
Those who abide in Christ and testify of Him are called His witnesses (John 15: 27). We share the love of Christ with the people around us. The believer in Christ has the potential to experience the love of God at all times irrespective of the situation. The living Christ empowers us through the Holy Spirit to share this divine love with those in need. Even our enemies are able to enjoy the love of God as we enjoy and witness among them.
What is impossible with man is possible with God. Our hands may be feeble; but we can place ourselves into the Able Hands of our Lord. The continuous and consistent relationship with Christ makes us His witnesses, to speak for Him. As His witnesses, we are able to know what to tell others. A witness tells what he knows. We are known by what we speak. As believers in Christ, we become capable of communicating the message by what we speak. We earn the right to speak because of our Christ-like life style and good deeds.
Ask Anything in Prayer Using Christ’s Name:
The Holy Spirit helps us in our prayer (Romans 8: 26, 27). Even when we don’t have the words to pray, the Holy Spirit prays with us. With God helping us pray, we need not fear to come before Him. The Holy Spirit pleads for us in harmony with God’s will. Since we are in Christ, we can trust that He will always do the best. Our asking must be according to God’s character and will. If we sincerely follow Christ and seek His will for us, our requests will be in line with what He wants, and He will grant them.
Security Beyond the Grave and the Certainty of Hope:
Even death cannot defeat us (1 Corinthians 15: 54). Christ has defeated death and we have hope beyond the grave. For those in Christ, death is no longer a source of dread or fear. The fear of death is replaced by the death of fear because Christ overcame it. One day, we will also overcome it. Because of this certainty of hope in Christ, we are able to set the priorities of today. No such hope means our priorities will be on the wrong things. There is no hope for mankind outside the resurrection of Christ.
The life that we live now is for the One who gave His life for us and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). To live is opportunity for Christ to live in me (Philippians 1: 21). Our life’s purpose is derived from seeing this life from an eternal perspective. It leads to developing eternal values, speaking out boldly for Christ and becoming more like Christ. It is to devote our entire life to what really counts.
Focus On What We Carry With Us Into Eternity:
God is not only interested in getting the work of His Kingdom done though us, but also is concerned about developing His character in us. Those who bear His name must have His character. When we testify that the living Christ is in us, we are saying that He is shaping our whole being into the image of Christ (Romans 8: 29). Character should be the causative force for achievements. It is the character of Christ that we receive during this life that we take with us into eternity. Surely, the Lord wants us to be instruments in His hand to help develop Christ-likeness in others. Our lifestyle, ministries and witnessing must lead to developing Christ’s character in the lives of those among whom we minister. We take with us into eternity a share of the result of our ministry here.