Remember Billy Graham (1918-2018) in His Most Inspiring Quotes

The Fruit of Abiding - First15 - October 18, 2017

The Fruit of Abiding

Weekly Overview:

This life is marked by a single choice: who or what will we center our lives around? This choice takes each of us down a path of decisions that shape who we are, what we feel, who or what we value, and what we will have accomplished at the end of our days. To center our lives around ourselves or the things of this world leads only to destruction. But, to center our lives around meeting with God fills each moment with the glorious abundance of God’s love, provision, and transcendent peace. May your life be marked by union with your Creator as we explore what it means to center our lives around meeting with God this week.

Scripture:“Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Devotional:          

So often out of a right desire to do good and God-honoring works we try and force fruit out of ourselves without taking the time to rest and receive the nutrients we can only get from abiding in our heavenly Father. A branch disconnected from an apple tree can no more produce good fruit than you and I can do good works apart from continual abiding in the love, grace, and presence of God. Without truly centering our lives around meeting with God, we’ll never produce the fruit we were created to make. Jesus taught us in John 15:1-5,

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

God’s heart is for us to abide in him all day, every day. How incredible is that! You and I can graft ourselves every day into the perfect, good, and powerful vine of our heavenly Father. We can wake up every day, open our hearts to God, and live out of the union afforded us by the powerful sacrifice of Jesus.

Rather than striving to do good works from the moment our feet hit the ground, we must take time to be loved by our heavenly Father. Rather than making our own opportunities to serve God, we must allow him to guide us to the works he’s set out for us. Rather than trying to lead others to Jesus by our own efforts, we must simply live openly and honestly with others, thereby revealing God’s heart to meet with those who are broken and in need of him. And rather than living as if God has left us to our devices, we must acknowledge our union with the Holy Spirit in every moment, thereby allowing his loving presence to permeate everything we do.

James 2:26 teaches, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” Connect yourself to the wonderful vine of Jesus today. Center your life around meeting with him. It’s only in abiding in God that your faith will produce works that are alive, eternal, and filled with the transformational power of God’s Spirit. May you discover the freedom and love available to you in continual communion with your heavenly Father today.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the importance of abiding in the vine. Allow Scripture to stir up your desire to rest in God today.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

“Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” >1 John 1:3

2. Where have you been striving to do good works apart from the abiding presence of your Creator? What parts of your life need to have a greater connection to the love of God?

3. Take time to rest in the presence of God. Abide in him. Don’t look to or think about the things set before you today. There will be plenty of time for tasks and relationships. Focus all your attention on the reality of God’s nearness and open your heart to receive all the love he has for you in this present moment.

The absolute most powerful and good work we can do every day is pursuing continual communion with God. More than God wants us to strive to serve him, he simply wants us to let him love us. More than he wants any work of our hands, he wants our hearts. His love comes without agenda. There is immense value in the children of God simply living in relationship with the Father. Don’t let the works-based systems of this world seep into the grace-based relationship you have with God.

Extended Reading: John 15

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