“I am the vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit, he takes away…” John 15:1,2.
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“He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers…” John 15:5,6.
The above texts are quotes from the Christian Bible, the Revised Standard Version. I was sorting things out in my mind lately and I wondered if God was no longer in charge of the goings-on down here. You can get so used to being you that you forget who you are.
Perhaps, like me, your days have been filled with frustrations and near-successes for as long as you can remember. And you do all things right. You are fair in your relationship with everyone, yet situation always stabs you in the back.
It is good to hinge your life to something. For me, what works is aligning myself to the God of the universe through submission to the Lord Jesus. This is quite technical, as I have discovered. You are not automatically on a roller-coaster just for declaring for Jesus, as some overzealous preachers say to you; but it is a sure life. It means entering into covenant with God by means of Jesus, because he is the one who was crucified to clear the way for us to link back to God, should we feel convince to. This service earned Jesus the right of toll-collection from us on the highway back to God.
Now, usually covenants afford the parties to it duties and privileges. The Christian covenant is no different. However, it is not oppressive if you flow in the spirit of the covenant. You willingly submit and you willingly serve. And in turn your life is made heaven on earth literally.
What frequently happens though is that, like me, we submit but we don’t serve. So we bear no fruit………and of course, we are cast away, left unfulfilled, unblessed, frustrated, our ways thwarted. And we pray and fast and run helter-skelter looking for who will turn things around; never for once imagining that this thing could be from God himself.
Yes, I figure the grace argument would come up against me here, but was it not written “show me your works and I’ll show you your faith…” Much as God wants all men to be saved he does not condone loafing or purposeless existence. Essentially the scripture that says “…he who does not work, let him not eat…” could very well translate to “...he who would not serve, let him not be blessed…”. Yes we are saved by grace and not by works; but now that we are saved, we need to contribute our own reasonable service to keeping the Christian family going. We also need to “work-out (maintain) our salvation with fear and trembling”. And the fruit-bearing service that is top on the heart of God is snatching lives from the powers of darkness and death – evangelism – soul-winningsingle christians bearing fruit.
God is not unrighteous as we have seen from the foregoing; we are the ones who rarely keep our own side of the deal. Then, again there is the issue of God’s prerogative. He says he’d bless whom he chooses to bless. So, even if we have done all that is reasonable for us to do, having things go well for us is still not as of right! God does not operate a system run on formula. Sometimes our motives for doing what we do fail us, and we seem to God to be users of him instead of loving him. It’s really technical, as I said. God does not run a one-way traffic; he brings a lot of things that do not meet the eyes of the ordinary observer to play in his response to us. This of course, is not meant to make us fare-badly, but rather to teach us to be genuine in our relationships. Yet, he tempers justice with mercy and shows us favor when we least merit it.
Every one of us knows that we can always be better than what we are presently. Well, that is what God is up to. He wants to get us flying as eagles, but it won’t just happen just because we say we are Christians; we have to walk in ways becoming of our calling. When it looks like we are up against the world and there seems to be no respite for us from disappointments, look inwards, it is likely that God is on our case about something we are missing. He never gives us over to powers outside of himself to be brought low. There is nothing wrong with life, we just might be temporarily out of sync with our God.
Who then has ever seen God to say what is with him. Well, from the beginning of time it is known that what is with God could be deciphered by :
1. Reading his word as represented by the scriptures. Meditating on his word, and doing what his word says we do. God and his will for us are revealed in his word. To know his word is to know him.
2. Praying to God. Talk things over with God. Make peace with him. Acknowledge and confess your faults to God, asking for his help to do what is pleasing to him. Discuss with him about your plans. Ask him to guide you in your actions on anything you want to do.
3. Fasting. When we deny ourselves usual and regular food and drinks we temper down our body and our spiritual antenna become more receptive to the signals of God. We should have a habit of fasting at least once a week to train and develop our spiritual faculties.
4. Praise and worship God. Sing to God new songs. Everybody does have a song to sing. Sing your song to God.
5. Play and spend your leisure time with God. Don’t make your relationship with God so formal. Loosen up with him. Call him up into your activities not just in prayers. Have an awareness of his presence in your activities. Talk out to him as you would a friend physically present with you. Like “Hey Dad, come down here a second and enjoy this (…..) with me. You are so thoughtful in all that you have provided me with in this sphere.”
6. Recognize the Holy Spirit and his mandated work in our lives. Many of us live oblivious of the great advantage the Holy Spirit provides for us. We ignore him, or in our attempt to lean on our own understanding, we totally forget he is around to help us. So he becomes redundant and under-employed. For most of us, as with me, the Holy Spirit is always asleep in our lives because he has tried so hard to connect to us but we were never sensitive; and he has had to witness our entering into such sorrow that would have been avoided if only we were alert.
7. Make use of the tools of our faith – blood of Jesus, name of Jesus, ministering angels. Invoke the Blood of Jesus. Decree, demand and assert in the Name of Jesus. Call up the Holy Angels of God – Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel (or Ariel). God has provided all these instrumentalities for our victorious living but we walk the earth as if we are left destitute.
Any life that adopts these practices in his walk with the Almighty will definitely soar through the skies. There is indeed nothing wrong with this life, most of us just don’t bother to give it what it requires. Make this little effort from today and in thirty days (or less) tell me about it!