A Man of His Word

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
John 15:4

Through this section of John, Jesus is telling us that if we remain in him, he will remain in us. In this way, we produce much fruit.

Jesus also tells us that just as a branch that is severed from the vine cannot continue to bear fruit, for it withers and dies when it is cut off from what gives it life, so are we severed from the source of abundant life when we no longer abide in Christ. When we are living on our own strength and doing life apart from God, the simple yet profound truth is that we are no longer able to bear fruit.

And what is this fruit?

Galatians 5:22-23 says that the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These things are the direct fruit of abiding in Christ and being connected to the vine.

If your life is lacking these things, if you’re devoid of joy, peace, and self-control, there is no way to experience what he’s talking about outside of taking a step of faith and connecting yourself back to the vine. We’ll never experience the blessing that comes from abiding… until we abide. In this case, he’s waiting on us to make the first step. He says he will remain in us. We will be fruitful. We will bring great glory to the Father. We may ask for anything we want and it will be granted! When? When we remain in him. When we trust him to do what he says he’ll do.

We need to have confidence that Jesus is a man of his word. We need to stop being so suspicious of his motives! When doubt creeps in, we need to fix firmly in front of us a sureness, certainty, and assurance that God is bigger than we are and more than capable to accomplish above and beyond what we can.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Ephesians 3:20

Peace of Mind

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.
Psalm 127:2

Rest: Peace of mind or spirit. Freedom from activity or labor.

Food to eat is the most baseline need aside from water. But God doesn’t want us anxiously working for food to eat, working from dawn passed dusk. To his loved ones he gives peace of mind and spirit.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-27: That is why I tell you not to worry about every day life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

So do your work, of course. Work is a necessary and important part of life. Work is even a gift. It gives us responsibility, reward, purpose, opportunities, and builds our character (and hundreds of other benefits). But do so with peace reigning in your heart, knowing that God is with you and will provide for your needs. It’s not all resting on you.

This passage in Psalms 127 also give us freedom from activity and labor and even goes so far to say that working anxiously from early morning to late at night is useless. Ineffectual. Not producing the proper or intended effect. This sings of Gods love and perfect design. We weren’t created for work alone, but also for rest, dependence on Him, laughter, joy, relationships, health, and wholeness.

What does this mean for you today? Maybe it means you go about your work with a song in your heart. Maybe it means you stop at a reasonable hour and trust God for the rest. Maybe it means you trade earthly perfection for eternal significance.

Whatever it is, take it to heart. There’s a lot to be learned here. For God gives rest to his loved ones.

They are Joyful

Joyful are people of integrity,
    who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Psalm 119:1 NLT

Instructions imply that there is a perfect way, an order, for things to go together. Like a cabinet bought from Ikea. If you took those cabinet pieces and decided to do whatever you wanted with them, it would be a mess. Maybe what you created could be somewhat useful, or even pretty, but you’d be able to tell that there was a better use for those pieces that’s not being utilized.

How beautiful and right would it look, function, and feel if it was put together following the instructions and put in its proper place in the home? Those pieces were specifically made for a purpose.

This passage says that the people who follow the instructions of the Lord are joyful. They are people of integrity: honest, upright, and full of good character. They are whole and undivided.

They are joyful, because they are living the way they were created to be.

 Joyful are those who obey his laws
and search for him with all their hearts.
Psalm 119:2 NLT