Monday, October 04, 2010

What does it take to be a faithful and fruitful Christian?

A growing faith! One that is fed and focused on our response to Christ that motivates the Fruit of the Spirit and moral and virtuous thinking and action because of God’s love to us and our gratitude and love back to Him. This is God's love and work in us that flows in through His Holy Spirit and out of us to others around us—all because we have a personal relationship with Christ. We have God's living presence in us, living in us (Matt. 6:10; Rom. 5:1-5; 12:1-21; 1 Cor. 12:1-14:40; Gal. 5:16-26; Eph. 4:1-6:20; 2 Peter 1:3-9).

This is a call to be obedient, to multiply the seed given to us. We are to make disciples of His Word. We are to point to Christ, never to ourselves! We need disciples of Christ, not of people like ourselves! This is a standard call of God to do something productive and effectual with our life and faith. To have a great gift like salvation, and do nothing with it is a great insult to the gift giver, God, and a proof of ingratitude and nonuse, which would prove that one is either not saved or highly disobedient and foolish (Isa. 27:6; Hos. 14:4-8).

What does it take to be a faithful and fruitful Christian, to be attached to Christ as His love and work flows in and through us? If we claim to know Christ as Lord and hang in His Church, we must yearn to imitate Him and follow His precepts, especially when we lead others! This happens when we show the faith to permanently leave our sinful lives, and with overwhelming gratitude, follow Jesus. We must first follow before we can lead. We are never to be unfaithful, prideful, manipulative, or abusive to the people God gives us to care for, for such an act is wicked and we will be held to a strict accounting (Jer. 23:1-2; 31:34; Ezek. 34:11-31; Mic. 5:4; 6:8; Hos. 6:6; John 15 and16; 17:21-23).

Faithfulness comes when we are in a state of right being; this can only come about from a right, growing relationship with God, which, in turn, only comes by accepting what Christ has done for us and applying it to our lives by faith. This helps us create an atmosphere of happiness, contentment, cooperation, and the closest we can get to living in real unity. Yet, it can only be grasped if/when we surrender our pride and sin and really live by what Christ has called us to. In my many years of helping people in their hurt or in recovery to transformation and effective ministry, we have all had to rely on the Vine. People only change when they realize that the pain and challenge of the change is less than the pain and work of staying where they are. Then the sap will flow ever so more!

Our greatest purpose is to build relationships with Him and with others; when we ignore this, we fail in the most important aspects in life, including our relationship in Him!

Authentic salvation is verified by obedience and fruit bearing, the mark of a disciple in this passage. Without trust and obedience, we prove ourselves unworthy to be His and we prove ourselves not to be a Christian. Grace is free for us, beyond the concept of cost for God, and is evidenced by our response (Matt. 7:20; Luke 6:43-45; Heb. 6:9).

What does it take to be in Christ and flourish for His glory and our betterment? What gets in the way? How can you be better enabled to thrive and give Him Glory? What do you need? What will you do?

What do you need to thrive in Christ and not be infected by the weeds or thorns of faulty desires and the ways of the world that will only hurt you and others?

What is defiling you? What do you need to do to accept God’s pruning and work in you? What ill thoughts and ways do you have about yourself that need to be tossed out?


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