January 9, 2012

It's a vine (not a beanstalk)

It's a vine. Not a beanstalk.

In our modern, techie society, we want instant results. Success is associated with "more", "faster", and "bigger".

Even churches (groups of Christ-followers and the places where they worship) are pressured to be "successful". Besides, weren't 3,000 believers added just like that in the early days? But let's be careful to distinguish godly wisdom over worldly wisdom: if satan tempted even Jesus with worldly power, all the more can satan twist our good intentions.

The Christian life is a vine, not a beanstalk. It's a moment by moment choice to pursue God, not an overnight ticket to riches (and evil giants out for your blood :p).

Our Master's words in John 15:1-17:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.

"I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you. This is My command: Love each other."

It is to God's glory that we be "successful"... but let's do so by pursuing not success but God Himself! (Seek ye first.) Surely we want quality and quantity, but pursue quality (our own walk with God) and the quantity will follow. It is God who will add the numbers. :)

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who makes things grow. 
- Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

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