My life’s desire has been to walk in obedience to God’s Word. I wish I could say that I have been successful in being a living example of His love and teachings, but sadly I share the same struggle that the Apostle Paul faced. (Romans 7:15) Just when I think I have everything in the right perspective, I trip, stumble and fall into inconsistencies. The desire has been there, but to achieve the positive reality of my intent has been a great struggle. The phrase, “How has life been treating you?” has been offered during infrequent exchanges with people whom we have not seen for some time. Normally, one’s canned response is always affirmative, even though we may be hurting. That question has caused me to ask myself, “How am I treating life?” What kind of fruit am I producing for the Kingdom? What contributions am I making to this life filled world? Am I representing God to the best of my ability? What is the fruit of my labor? Is God pleased with my actions? Am I a living, visible example of Jesus Christ? When my life is entering the transition zone between Earth and Heaven, will I hear my Creator say, “Well done, good and faithful servant?”
During the harvest time of the year, many farmers and gardeners bring their produce into town to sell them. They usually have a pre-selected site where they can set up their booths for the town’s people to observe and, hopefully, buy their fruits and vegetables. I wonder what the Believer is producing that might draw people to their offerings? When we accept Jesus Christ, our purpose in life is to please God. This takes the form of every aspect of our triune man; our thoughts, words, and actions. We should always strive to bring glory to our Heavenly Father. We achieve that purpose by producing fruit through our actions. The success of those endeavors is directly related to our relationship with Jesus Christ. By abiding in Jesus, we will produce an abundance of fruit. When we are not in continual fellowship with Him, we will be like the fig tree that had the appearance of fruit, but upon closer examination, there was no fruit. (Matthew 21:19) To abide in Christ is to walk and talk with Him continually. It is not a Sunday only contact, but every moment of our waking hours. Jesus told His disciples that without Him they could do nothing. (John 15:1-8) When will the Church realize that simple truth? Outside of abiding in Christ, all our actions will be useless. (I Corinthians 3:10-15) Any attempts to build God’s earthly Kingdom without Christ, will fail to hold up to the scrutiny of Heaven’s Superior Court.
Abiding in Christ is not only essential to producing fruit in God’s earthly Kingdom, but it is also necessary to living an abundant and full life. Many of the carnal problems that happen in our lives are directly related to the degree of our interaction with Jesus. When we realize that we are continually in contact with Jesus, it will be almost impossible to display any carnal action or attitude. It is only when we take a sabbatical excursion that we allow our fleshly initiatives to dominate life’s challenges.
To abide means to stay, remain, and dwell. One of the main causes of backsliding is being out of fellowship with Jesus. It is reaching a state of mind in which one relies on his own ability and leadership. To grasp the reality of this, one needs only to look in the rear view mirror and see how we have responded to the different challenges in life. When we lost our temper and became angry and even emphasized the situation by the language of the world, where was Jesus as we exercised our frustration? It is very difficult to react outside of the Christian guidelines when you are abiding in Christ. I grew up in a very loving, but firm, family. As long as I abided under their roof, there were requirements for me to follow. I enjoyed being with my parents, for their love drew me into a reality of happiness and security. But if I chose to do my own thing, there were consequences. Frustration with life comes from not abiding with Christ. Offering appetizing fruit is the result of abiding in Christ, and not outside of Him. See you at the “Farmer’s” Market!
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