“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
In such a fast-paced world, I often view myself like a fish swimming upstream, as I seek to guard against over-scheduling and over-activity. Can you relate? I know that it is very challenging to live-out what we know to be God’s priority, seeking Him first, in this busy, performance-driven culture. From John 15:16 above, we can see that we have been appointed to go and bear fruit, and fruit that will last. Do you feel overwhelmed at the reminder of this charge? Have you asked yourself questions like, “Should I be doing more for Jesus?” Or, “If I were only a better Christian, or a more efficient time manager, would I bear more fruit in my life?” I have had all of those thoughts, so if you asked yourself questions similar to these, we are not alone in our grappling. We may feel overwhelmed at hearing that God appointed us to bear fruit because we do not understand how to bear fruit. So, I would like to explore God’s Word to help us understand how fruit is borne in our lives and through our lives.
Let’s look at the difference between “Doing” and “Being” from God’s perspective. “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me” (John 15:4-5). As a society, we so skilled at “Doing” things. We rejoice when we can say we are good at multi-tasking. Yet, recent research indicates that attempts at multi-tasking actually produce less efficient, lower quality work. It seems that busyness has become a badge of honor in our society. John 15:4-5 gives us a look at how to bear fruit in and through our lives. When I read this verse, I hear God’s heart calling me to “Be” with Him. This verse seems to make clear that fruitfulness can only come out of “Being” with Him. I like to think of it like this, our “Doing” for Him will flow from our “Being” with Him.
Let’s briefly look at two Biblical examples that demonstrate how God prioritizes our “Being” and our “Doing.” “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then, I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers” (Mt. 7:21-23). From this passage, it seems evident that God’s number one priority is for us to “Know” Him. This kind of “Knowing” in the original biblical context is similar to the intimate friendship that a husband and wife enjoy. They spend time with one another, listening, talking, and just being together. In this passage, God was not impressed with the wonderful “Doing” these folks did in His name, His only retort was that they did not know Him.
Finally, in Luke 10:38-42, we are all familiar with the story of Mary and Martha. Here was Martha, stressed-out and feeling all alone in the preparations she felt were needed for her show of hospitality. Meanwhile, her sister, Mary, chose to sit at the Lord’s feet and learn from Him. This enraged Martha and she attempted to enlist Jesus as her mediator. Then, she had the audacity to command Jesus to reach the resolution of her choosing – “Get Mary back into the kitchen!!!” Martha was so focused on the “Doing” that she missed “Being” with the God of Glory, who was in her family room!!! She missed a once-in-a-lifetime, heaven-meets-earth opportunity. And what did Jesus say to her? “Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” In conclusion, it seems to me that Jesus is calling His church back to Himself, to cultivate the art of “Being” with Him. As a result, we will find that our “Doing” will truly be Him living His life through us. Like instruments, as we wait upon Him, we will find that He will blow His life-giving breath through us and will produce a fruitful harvest in us and through us. Dear friend, may your heart be inspired to choose what is better today, to sit at His feet, to “Be” with Him and not miss this once-in-a-lifetime, heaven-meets earth opportunity. As you choose to remain in Him, He will produce lasting fruit in you and through you. Enjoy His presence today. : )
“For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Please leave a comment at www.PleasantWords.org and let me know your thoughts on any of the following:
1) Do you struggle with choosing what is better – time with Him? What helps you or motivates you to choose Him over the tyranny of the urgent or the daily things of life?
2) Have you seen fruitfulness in your life connected to your abiding in The Vine? If so, how would you describe that?