Living For Christ Part 2

My, Devotion to Him #299

In the last devotional, we looked at the first 3 principles of living for Christ.

  1. Trust and acknowledging Him
  2. A willing heart
  3. Recognizing God’s Grace

In this message, we are continuing in that same direction. So let’s get to it.

  1. Understand Christ is the source.

Verse Passage: John 15:4-5 “Remain in me, as I also 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. “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.” – NIV

Christ tells us to REMAIN in Him as He REMAINS in us. Then He further states that no branch can bear fruit on its own. And if you’re trying to figure this passage out, I’ll tell you that you are the branch.
There is nothing we can do to bear fruit. The fruit that Christ is talking about. It is through Him as the vine, through Him as the source, the ever-living water that continually gives life and allows us to bear good fruit.
Understanding that we cannot do anything without Him is critical to our success. Sure, many people have nice things and may not walk with Christ. Does that contradict this statement? No. Because not everything is about that type of success.
Jesus wants you to bear fruit. Bear evidence of Him. Some believers don’t bear fruit because they do not abide within Him.
They say they believe, but they don’t remain attached. Their faith is within the church and not the head of the church. They pay homage to its operations and services but don’t actually spend the time with the One who made this all possible.

When Christ tells us to bear good fruit, He is telling us to produce the fruits of the Spirit. Remember those?

Verse Passage: Galatians 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” – NIV

These are the fruits of those who belong to Christ (they should be). Now I know we don’t instantly see these fruits come about. You’d understand if you’ve seen the work that goes into farming. Christ is doing a new work in us, and as we REMAIN in Him, we will start seeing these fruits.

Who do we remain? This is an action made on our part. We must cleave (stick closely) to Him in all things. It is holding onto Him with our trust and obedience. It is believing wholeheartedly that His Word is not only accurate but that it is absolute. It is a steadfast (firm) confidence that His promises are guaranteed. When we REMAIN in Him, we will be united with Him in mind and motives. We will rest in His gracious love.

Finally, to REMAIN in Him is to know that He is life, the nourishment we need and must have. In knowing this, we must use the knowledge gained to act according to it. In doing this, we promote a more intimate relationship.

  1. Recognize that God has a purpose for you

Verse Passage: Colossians 1:16 “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” – NIV

Verse Passage: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – NIV

Verse Passage: Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – NIV

Over and over, we can see God has a purpose for you! You weren’t some extra creation just wondering about with no vital role. You aren’t an extra in someone else’s movie. God created you for a specific and unique plan. Recognizing this is to understand that you are not worthless. That you are highly valued. The plans for you were drawn out before you were born. God was already creating an assignment just for you. We were not made just to wonder about. We weren’t created just to live defeated. No! But we cannot step into what He created without first taking the step to believe that there is something that God wants us to do. That there is an assignment that is so important that He had to create you so it could get done! This is one of our most humbling statements to grab hold of. You may not think teaching a Sunday school class of 4 in a town of 300 is essential compared to mega churches and what they can do. But every role is critical to God, and if no one else cares. You can rest assured the Father is watching. The King sees you at work doing kingdom business.

  1. Obedience brings blessings

Verse Passage: John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” – NIV

The amount of family references throughout the Bible and how strikingly similar it reflects our life is incredible.

As a father, this is what I hope for. As I teach and guide my daughter, she will listen and not only hear what I say but act on such and obey. As she follows, my heart is filled, and I open up avenues of great things for her. We reward the good. At other times she chooses with her own actions to not obey, and as a consequence, she sees those favorable avenues start to close. Do I love her less? No. But we can see as the Bible references a family dynamic and how God interacts that He looks for obedience, and a lot of the time, it’s in the perspective of Father-Child, not God-Human.
God the Father releases favor on His children as they obey. Living for Christ results in His outpouring. Following Christ and the route He has laid out will bring about some of the best things we wouldn’t otherwise come to experience.

Verse Passage: Luke 11:28 “He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” – NIV

Verse Passage: Luke 5:1-3 “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.” – NIV

Obedience to God does not always mean only we are given blessings. In fact, this verse provides us with the opposite. Christ asked Peter to push the boat out a little bit. Now, you have to understand Peter just worked all night, and Christ asked him to work a little more. It wasn’t that big of a deal, though. There was a crowd gathering, and I’m assuming it was getting large enough that Jesus wanted some space to project His voice or something. So Peter did so. This doesn’t appear noteworthy on the surface, but that’s because this was only the start.

Verse Passage: Luke 4-5 “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” – NIV

Jesus first finished His message, and I’m not sure how long-winded Jesus was, but it does say before Peter pushes Jesus out onto the water that Jesus was already talking and then decided it was time to change things. Now the people in attendance were crowding around Him, having gathered in number. So He continues to preach, and Peter continues to linger. Remember, he had just worked all night.
Jesus then tells Peter to go into deep water and fish some more. This was Peter’s moment, and we will all have this type of moment. We’ve worked hard and haven’t accomplished anything. God lays on your heart to do something and then turns around and asks more of you. It would be easy for Peter to say no. It would be easy for Peter to complain and ask to do it later. Instead, he makes it known that he has worked all night without making progress, but because Christ was the one asking, he will do it. This sets Peter and us up to understand that sometimes obedience benefits us and those around us.
As Peter obeyed Christ the first time, the people listening around benefited. Later on, Peter would benefit from his obedience and his continual obedience since this was the second command.

Verse Passage: Luke 5:6-9 “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,” – NIV

Because he chose to not only obey once but a second time, and this started to become a pattern of obedience, Peter received a blessing. This blessing was so much that their nets began to break. So he had to get other people in another boat to help, and the blessing was still so much that both boats started to sink. Obedience has a zone of influence around you, and those whom you are around may also benefit from you simply obeying Christ.
There are times when obedience doesn’t make sense, as in Peter’s case. Peter has already fished the waters all night and caught nothing, so going back out right after work doesn’t make sense.
Jesus was a carpenter. So to listen to a carpenter when Peter’s life was all about fishing does not make sense. Yes, there will be times when what God is telling us to do doesn’t make any sense, but as Peter found out that even though it doesn’t make sense because it’s Christ, he still chose to obey, and the outcome was a blessing that was more than he could endure on his own.

God bless,

Copyright © 2022 by Jacob Olinger

Living For Christ Series:

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