We all want to our lives to bear fruit. We all want our lives to count for something. The older I get, the more I think about that. I wish I had stopped to consider that more often as a younger man. My awesome three sons are fantastic fruit, for which I am eternally grateful – but God calls me to more. A successful career? A fat retirement account? The dream home we’ve always wanted? What fruit is God calling us to?
I absolutely love John, chapter 15. I can always go there and find encouragement and direction. As I pondered it recently, I heard God specifically say that Christ’s words also apply to my marriage (and the others we get to influence). Here is a summary:
1. He is the only source for life and nourishment for my marriage. I can produce no life or nourishment on my own (as a branch), no matter how hard I try.
2. My primary task is to choose (daily) to abide (settle in, stay) in Him. If my marriage is to produce any lasting fruit, it will only come as a direct result of abiding in Him and allowing His life to flow through me to my wife, children, grandchildren and others.
3. The result of choosing to abide is that my marriage will produce “much fruit”. Not just a crabapple here and there – but much fruit. This is a promise from Jesus Himself.
4. My primary responsibility is not to learn new principles to live by, or zip through a quick daily devotional – but to choose to engage Christ and allow Him into every aspect of my life. This is not a one-time prayer, but a continual choosing. I am to cling desperately to Him, and trust Him for the results. The Pharisees knew the law, but did not know the law-Giver, the Person, the Shepherd.
5. If I abide, and allow His Word (written and spoken into my spirit by the Spirit every day) to dwell in me – I have complete confidence that my prayers will be answered – because my desires will come in line with His desires. The key word is “IF”, because I have the option to abide or not; to draw near or not; to listen and follow, or not.
6. The primary reason for marriage – to bring glory to God – is accomplished by our bearing much fruit. Others see the fruit of Christ’s love in our lives and our marriage, and see a living replica of Christ’s unconditional, serving love for His bride, the church.
7. I am responsible for the health of my marriage and my family. Rather that wringing my hands in worry, or worse yet – giving up because I can’t figure out how to make everything work out right…. I can choose to stop trying to do it in my own strength and focus on staying attached to the Source of everything I need…..Jesus.
Our marriage will be as fulfilling as our walk with Christ.
Have a fruitful week……….