Living FOR, not just with

You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:16-17)

Choice - to select from a number of possibilities - usually because you know something about what it is you are choosing. I choose one of a couple of brands of toilet tissue because I know the quality of those brands. I sometimes see other choices that may cost a little less, but I don't choose them because I have no clue as to their quality. I choose one brand of dish detergent because I have observed what it does when I make a sudsy water to wash my pots and pans. We make all kinds of choices each and every day, some of them pretty much a matter of 'routine' in our lives. There are choices we make consciously and others we make subconsciously, something we might not even realize we are doing. How is it we choose to serve Christ today? Is it a conscious or subconscious decision? Is it purposeful or by rote? If we truly love him as he has loved us, I daresay a relationship that is 'rote' or 'routine' is not really a relationship at all!

Paul put it this way in his letter to the Philippian church: "To me, living means living FOR Christ...but if I live, I can do more and more fruitful work for Christ." (1:21) Christ's command to his disciples those many years ago still stands today. We are to be 'grafted into' his family, taking care of one another, loving one another as he first loved us. A relationship is established in his 'choosing' us, but it is our responsibility to keep the relationship fresh and vital by actually engaging with him each and every day - consciously. When you first start a relationship, you make very conscious decisions to get to know each other, what the other person likes, how they relate to you when they are happy, tired, sad, or hungry. You are learning 'about' them, but does that learning ever truly end? Not if you want it to be a vital and lasting relationship!

Jesus asks us to learn who he really is - yes, learn about him, but we must also learn things we can only know by spending time WITH him. We can know a whole lot 'about' Jesus and totally miss out on the joy of actually getting to spend time in his presence. We call that being a 'churchgoer' - one who merely warms the pew with their presence, but totally misses that Christ's presence is right there beside them. When we really want to grow in relationship with Christ, we soon discover we want to see certain fruit develop within our lives. The fruit we might desire is gentleness of spirit, kindness of heart, wisdom to speak words of hope and comfort. We only develop fruit through attachment to the vine. We only remain attached and vital when we take that time at his feet developing the relationship. Just sayin!

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