I can almost smell it. It’s going to be a fruit-filled year if I will heed one important fact: Fruit only grows on connected branches.
As I’ve prayed about the Lord’s focus for me in 2016, John 15:5 sums it up:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
What does this tell me?
It’s all about God, and I am nothing without Him. Being connected to Him, and allowing Him to flow through me is the only way to accomplish anything of true value. If I stay connected to Him, I will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
What does being intimately connected to God look like?
- Kneeling in prayer to start the day by confessing sins (claiming the forgiveness Christ has already given), praying the Spirit will fill and lead me, praying for others, and prayerfully reading God’s Word.
Listening to a podcast radio sermon during a morning run or walk, or while tidying the house at the end of the day when the house is quiet.
Having background worship music on during housework.
- Keeping scriptures posted around the house.
- Staying in a state of prayerful awareness toward others and their needs as we move through our schedule at the gym, the grocery store, work and activities involving my children.
- Taking a deep breath and asking the Lord for His perspective and attitude on difficult issues before speaking.
- Reminding ourselves that if we say yes to all God asks us to do, He is then able to be in control and work all things for good in our lives.
- Encouraging ourselves daily that God has provided all we need for every good work that He has prepared in advance for us to do. (He never gives us more than we can handle, so we never need to be overwhelmed.)
A prayer I often pray:
“Lord, I’m empty without your fullness,
I am broken without your wholeness,
I am helpless without your strength,
I am clueless without your wisdom.
Apart from you I am nothing.”
He is everything, and as we are joined to Him the poverty of our
personal identity is lost in the fullness of His eternal greatness.”
– Bob Sorge, Secrets of the Secret Place
Being joined to Him in intimacy is what we were made for. He made us to have relationship with Him. We may strive toward human relationships, money or status to fill that void, but only our Heavenly Father can truly satisfy us. There is nothing more exhilarating than keeping a constant connection with Jesus. You just never know what is around the corner. But one thing we do know: when we keep that connection, fruit will grow.
Fruit is grown to be shared. It doesn’t accomplish its purpose otherwise. I do enjoy sharing tasty fruit, but I want to share the kind of fruit mentioned in John 15:16…fruit that will last—for the Kingdom here and now, and for eternity. I will do my best in 2016 to stay connected to the True Vine.
I’m hoping and praying for a good crop this year. What are you hoping for in 2016? Have you prayed about your focus?