Happy Easter people! Ever wondered what you are capable of giving up because of love? Master writer, J.M Barrie in Peter Pan says, “Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” Try imagine the thought of Jesus leaving the heavens to dwell with us and die for our sins despite us rejecting Him, all because He loves us so much. It is like inviting someone to a party, spending so much on them and rather than appreciate, they slam the door in your face as they leave, protesting!
Easter is the remembrance of the death and resurrection of Christ which paid the price for our salvation. So during this holiday I have decided to reflect on my role as someone who has been saved by Christ and my progress this far. It is my hope that as we reflect on this day, it will become clear to us that, once we have been saved, we remain on earth to bring others to Christ-if we do not do this we are of no use to the Kingdom, if we do this we are increased. It is our way to see how we “react” after the party.
John 15:1-2 says, I am the true vine and My Father the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Just like the branches described in the scripture above, we either produce or get thrown away. However, the productivity is not about our works outside but more about what happens inside of us. Many of us are focused on being productive Christians on the outside, doing all the right things at an outside glance-serving in church, being involved in charity, helping the needy-all of which are good, especially during this time, but to bring God’s word in truth and in Spirit, we have to also change on the inside. What I do on the inside or when no one else is looking needs to match with what I display on the outside.
We do not change people by our works, only God does that, however, we are the instruments of change. Productivity is all about becoming worthy instruments.
So how does one attain this level of productivity? After the Easter celebrations, what are we meant to do?
- Feast in the Word
John 15:3-4 You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me.
It is the Word that makes us clean, the more we dwell in it, the more we are transformed from the inside out. We need to deliberately seek the Word by reading it daily so that we change our thinking patterns, through worship so as to shift our focus from ourselves and our problems to seeing God’s power over everything, in fellowship with others so that we grow in faith and in a wholesome way and most importantly through witnessing to others so that we believe in scripture-we tend to know things better when we teach.
When we feast on God’s word daily two things tend to happen in increasing our productivity; first, the Word gives us direction. Activity is not productivity, whatever we do outside God’s plan is mere activity. The only way to avoid running around in circles is by getting God’s direction through His word, any other way and we become useless in the Kingdom.
John 15:5-6 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
Secondly, the Word helps us understand God’s will for us. God has poured his heart in the Word and when we align with Him, His desires become ours. For our prayers to be effective, they need to be based on God’s plan, answered prayers are those that agree with God’s will not those said with many aimless words.
John 15:7-8 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.
- Walk in Love
John 15:9 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
John 15:17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
Love is a verb not a noun; it involves action and not possession we do not say we have love, we act in love. Jesus Christ defines love in two main parts, the first being obedience to the commandments. I cannot claim to love Him if I do not do what He wants me to do; my direct expression of love to Him is in following His instructions. The commandments were given in love so that I may know good from bad and be able to choose my path. When I obey these commandments, I receive His love-we need to change our perspective and instead of seeing commandments as strict laws, we should see them as instructions from a loving Father who wants us to enjoy life; we need to receive His love.
John 15:10-11 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
Apart from obeying the commandments and receiving God’s love for us, we are instructed to spread the love we have received. The reason why it seems so hard to love certain people is we are clinging on to our lives-our emotions, thoughts about them and our own will-instead of God’s way. We think some people do not deserve to be loved, we fear that our love will not be received in the same measure or sometimes it is just plain uncomfortable. Regardless the excuse we may have not to love someone else, we are instructed to lay down our lives (go against our will) and show them love. The only way to love unconditionally is through God’s help, it all starts with His love overflowing in us.
John 15:12-13 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
All in all I conclude by saying that productivity is built on friendship with God; knowing Him (the Word) and loving Him. Christ chose you as a friend by dying for you on the cross; go out there this Easter and show your friendship to Him.
John 15:14-16 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all the things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 I communed with my heart saying, “Look I have attained greatness and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceive that this also is grasping for the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
It would not be fair to leave you with this information and let you try to change by your own wisdom and strength-it is like chasing the wind. Only in Jesus Christ does all this make sense and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit will we know the way to go. Say this prayer and receive a new life..
Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus. Your Word says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). I am calling on You. I pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life, according to Romans 10:9-10—”If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” I do that now. I confess that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead.
I am now reborn! I am a Christian—a child of Almighty God! I am saved! You also said in Your Word, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13). I am also asking You to fill me with the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, rise up within me as I praise God. I fully expect to speak with other tongues as You give me utterance (Acts 2:4).
The prayer was obtained from the Kenneth Copeland Ministries.