Imagine this scenario. Say one day after a long journey cross-country under a hot sun, and desperately in need of water, a traveler comes across a tap. Hoping for water to quench his thirst, the traveler tries to turn on the tap. The tap turns yet no water comes from it. What will you do in this scenario, were you the traveler?
You might try to turn it on and off a few more times yet still no water comes from it. If you were the impatient type, you would have left the tap behind or try to break it open. Yet a simple search for the water source would have supplied the water you needed.
A water tap may be made from gold and located in a palace somewhere, but if it’s not connected to the waterworks, it will remain useless and nonfunctional. This is the key to the effectiveness of the water tap. It only gains its utility when it is attached to a source and open supply of water. It is the same secret towards being an effective Christian.
Many Christians may try to find the key to a victorious Christian life in right atmosphere, right curriculum, right message, right preacher, and so on. Yet the key is really simple; Jesus is the One who brings transformation. And if we want transformation in our lives, we must be connected to Jesus. There is no other way.
Abiding in Christ Produces Spiritual Fruit
In John 15:7-8, Jesus shares with His disciples that if were to remain in Him and He in them, they would only need to ask of the Father and it will be granted. This includes bearing spiritual fruit, for the producing of such fruits brings glory to the Father.
In these 2 verses themselves, there is much to take in and learn. Notice that the focus is in abiding in Christ, not on the fruit-bearing. Abiding in Christ is the source or cause that will bring the outcome or effect of fruit-bearing. Without the abiding, calling for fruit-bearing can result in guilt and frustration.
As Christians, there is often a high level of expectation, not just from others, but also from ourselves. After all, if we have new identities that are founded on Christ, shouldn’t we be living a life that is victorious and exemplary? And so, we try and try through our efforts to live up to our standards, only to get burnt out in the end. We mistake right living as the main thing and we forget about our relationship with Christ.
We are like the water tap that produces no water because it is not connected to the supply.
Connected through God’s Word
How do we get connected to the Living Water? There are 3 simple ways we can do so. The first is to get connected through the word of God. Jesus told His disciples that the key to producing spiritual fruits and victorious living is by remaining in Him. This denotes a continuous process of being in God’s presence. One perspective to this is by letting His word continually be our guide.
The prophet Jeremiah affirms in Jeremiah 15:16 that when the word of God came to him, he ate them up, for they were a delight and a joy to him. This is a wonderful description of what the word of God meant to Jeremiah. Imagine ‘eating the word’ as it came to him. It meant that Jeremiah was really hungering after God’s word.
Sometimes as Christians who have read the Bible so many times, we may get jaded and rush through it. But the word of God is priceless and we should take pleasure in it. We ought to really enjoy the word of God, not doing it out of obligation or gobbling them in a spirit of hurriedness.
The Lord wants to instruct, teach, counsel and guide us (Psalm 32:8-9) and the Bible is full of mentors. If we want to learn about walking by faith and not by sight, Abraham is there to teach us. David is there to warn us that lust does not pay, Jonah about walking in obedience, Ruth testifies about submission and trust. These are only some of the mentors.
We must also learn how to be responsible over our own spiritual lives, going beyond just being fed. The question is “Are you hungry enough to feed yourself? Are you having a consistent and meaningful daily devotional life?”. The meaning of discipleship is to feed ourselves until we’re saturated with the word of God. The key to discipleship is really in this discipline and personal responsibility for our relationship with God.
Connected Through Prayer
A second way we can get connected to God is through prayer. John 15:7 is an encouragement that if we abide in Christ, we can ask the Father of anything and it will be done for us. There is a keyword here; “Ask”. Prayer is communion with God.
Jesus Himself led a life of prayer and in Mark 1:35, He got up while it was still very early in the morning so that He could withdraw to a solitary place to pray. As we grow deeper into prayer, we grow deeper in God. We can learn to pray in the context of who God is.
The basic way of doing this is by praying the word, integrating theology with prayer. One good way of starting is by personalizing The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) and praying it back to God:
(“I praise your name for there is no other name more worthy of being praised. You are the Almighty and yet you hold us gently in the palm of your hands. You provide for us every day of our lives. Forgive us, Father, if we have wandered off and turned our backs on you. Your ways are higher than our ways, O Lord. Help to guide us so that we may walk with you and not fall by the wayside. Surely everything was made by you and their proper place is in you. All power and glory to your name, Amen”)
Connected Through Obedience
Thirdly, we get connected through obedience. Galatians 5:22 lists the fruits of the Spirit that is the product of our abiding in Christ. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. In short, it will result in a Christ-like life (Christ-likeness in our head (peace, forbearance), heart (love, joy, faithfulness), and hands (kindness, goodness)). We will begin to think like Jesus, feel like Jesus, and act like Jesus. This is the fruit of connection.
In Colossians 1:10, Paul writes that we were saved and given righteousness so that we may live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the knowledge of the Lord. We are not saved by good works but we are saved for good works.
Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God had prepared in advance for us to do. Since God has prepared them in advance for us, He has given us a purpose when we were saved. We are encouraged to respond to it.
One such good work is the fruit of soul-winning. If we are fruitful, we will reproduce after our own kind. Proverbs 11:30 states that the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise save lives. The tree of life is the tree of salvation and eternal life. It speaks of the Christian’s responsibility.
All of us have been made righteous by Christ; it was not by our own merits. However, since we now belong to Christ, we must produce His fruit of being life-giving, winning souls, reproducing life in others by bringing them to Christ. We are not a dead Church because we have a living God. We need to bring this same life to others.
NOTE: This article was inspired by a recent sermon in a church service the writer attended.
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