Living the Fruitful Life
Dr. Valson Abraham
When he was 17 years old, a perceptive German student wrote, "Our heart, reason, history, and the work of Christ convince us that without Him we cannot achieve our goal, that without Him we are doomed by God, and only Christ can save us."
Nine years later, that young man, Karl Marx, rejected Jesus Christ and went on to write "The Communist Manifesto" and declare religion as "the opiate of the people." The fruit of his life has been untold misery for hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Karl Marx's life illustrates what happens when we refuse to take Jesus' words seriously: "I AM THE VINE and you are the branches."
Recently, we experienced a California windstorm that saw many large branches broken off the trees. I noted that after a few days, the leaves and branches of those fallen trees had withered and become brittle because they no longer had life in them
Jesus promised that when we abide in Him as the branch abides in the vine, we will bear much fruit. By this, He meant the fruit of the Spirit-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. We see fruitfulness in the lives of men of God such as William Carey and Charles Grant who have left a permanent imprint of Christ upon India.
Jesus means for all of us to bear fruit by abiding in Him. Jesus says that to bear fruit glorifies God the Father. To bear the fruit of the Spirit also blesses us. Who of us, for example, doesn't want more love, joy and peace in life?
To bear fruit also blesses others who live with and around us. Whenever we meet someone who is obviously filled with the fruit of the Spirit, we immediately know it and hunger for those qualities in our own lives, if we are truly seeking after God.
To abide in Christ is to experience every part of our lives surrounded by His love, power and care, and to let our relationship with Him overflow into the world.
How do we abide in Christ? Jesus tells us in John 15:7-by letting His words abide in us. These are not only the words that come from memorizing scripture (although that is important), but also by the words that come through the Holy Spirit as we converse with God in prayer and hear Him speak to our immediate needs.
Abiding in Christ is a choice. We decide to spend time with Him in prayer, to seek after Him in the Bible and to fellowship with others who abide in Him. All these things aid us in maintaining our close relationship with Christ.
If we have committed our lives to Christ, we already abide in Him. If we do not see the fruits of the Spirit as we ought, Jesus promises that His Father will "prune" us-remove those things from our lives that prevent us from bearing fruit. Confession of sin will help to put us in better relationship with Him.
Abiding in Christ means that we share an intimacy with God closer than any human relationship. We share a common eternal destiny with the maker of the universe. We share common interests and a common work. He is our mentor who leads, prepares, teaches, reveals, encourages, provides all we need, when we need it
Most of all, we share each other's fellowship in the deepest sense. The apostle Paul has told us that nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus. This is what Jesus meant when He called Himself the "true Vine."
As we abide in Christ, we will increasingly recognize those who do not experience the abiding life of Christ. We will share Jesus' concern for them, many of whom want fruitful lives but do not know Christ.
India is filled with millions who have yet to be grafted into the True Vine. In 2012 , may each of us share more closely the heart of the One in whom we abide. Have a Blessed 2012
Father God, I want to live a fruitful life and abide in Christ. Show me those areas of my life where I am not trusting you fully, so that I may better produce the fruit that glorifies you, blesses me and blesses others who live with and around me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.