In the book of John 15:1-8, Christ expounds on the parable of the vine and the branches-that if a man remains in Him, then he will certainly bear much fruit. Infact in verse 6 He categorically says, 'If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned'. It is God's intention for you to be fruitful. You can effectively do this by being careful about what you watch and what you listen to because these can steal from what you truly are fitted with, which is uniquely yours. Each and every one of us has something that only he can do, something that only he can be. What then are these five competencies of fruitfulness?
Firstly is to ensure that you bear fruit. Each and every one of us knows what they are good at doing and in which they are able to multiply. God helps us in knowing this if we do not already know what it is. In this God wants you to know His will, His purpose for your life and how you can bear fruit with what He has put inside you. What you need to remember is never to despise small beginnings because this is how great things are borne.
We tend to put 'successful' people on high pedestals way above us forgetting that we too matter. Life is really about allowing God to use you by your fruitfulness. It is about constantly seeking God's will over the decisions you are to make and letting Him be in control of your life. It is not about waiting to be in a crisis then rushing to Him for a solution! It is about having a need and hunger for the Him and this starts by being yourself.
Know yourself by your values; what matters to you and do not be what everyone else wants you to be. Spend time with yourself and get to know who you are because you do not have to do what everyone wants you to do. Psalms 139:15-16 says that God knew you long before you ever came to being, "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be". What this means is that most of us work against ourselves in trying to be who we are not meant to be. We try to be nice yet like Paul we should develop an edge for ourselves. We are fearfully and wonderfully made even on the inside of us. Why then would you have something inside you yet do nothing about it? Why are you afraid of being a model to others in order to save their lives? Who are you?
Secondly is to develop a focused - prayerful life because Christ says in John 15:7, "If you remain in me and my Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you". If you remain in Christ, God's purpose for your life will be revealed and you will pray with focus. Create the need for God to find a way to provide for you because He needs you to express who you are.
Thirdly is to develop an attitude of teamwork. We all need somebody because we can only do best what we are good at, not everything else. This is actually what is wrong with the world, that people are stuck in jobs they have neither passion nor zeal for. Everyone needs to be in their rightful place as part of the whole because we are gifted specifically and differently. Can you imagine a pastor who does not like people? Yet they do exist because they probably are supposed to be the administrators or accountants in other places where they can be effective ministers of the Word but insist on being at the pulpit and in the limelight. Acts 13:1supports this uniqueness, "In the church at Antioch, there were prophets and teachers" You are who you are and if you are a pastor who is good at administrative work, then you should not have to struggle to be what you are not but should instead be slotted into the right place within the church or elsewhere where you can still spread the Gospel of Christ. Stop doing what you cannot do and let someone else do it because that is what teamwork is about. Do not do what does not energize you. Use your gifts to complement others in your own unique way.
Fourthly, have a spiritual vision for your world. Pharaoh was not the provider of the Jews and God had to demand of him to let His people go. Unfortunately some of us have become comfortable where we yet know fully well that we do not fit there. We find our Canaan demanding and therefore refuse to move to where we should be; we choose to stay in Egypt. You should not let anxiety and fear rob you of who God wants you to be; whatever God has put in you to do, do it. It is unfortunate that for most people, tomorrow will be like yesterday and today, nothing much will have changed.
Lastly, utilize coaches and mentors to avoid hiding behind words like, "I am praying about it" or "God has not spoken to me about it yet". Do not be passive about your demands. It is total waste to water others yet not bear fruits of your own. Who then waters you? Who challenges you? Who in the Bible would you like to emulate? If it is David, are you hungering after God in the way that he did? Don't just dream about who you should be, be it! Work on feedback but also seek out others who are already doing what you feel called to do. Pray that God may bring them along your way to mentor you. Proverbs 13:20 says, 'He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm'.
If you are not bearing fruit then you are living below the standards of a Christian and of whom God created you to be. Christ tells us in John 15:8, "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.
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