Monday, December 9, 2013
To Be A Producer Of The Kingdom Of God
Lord, I believe you want to bless me with riches so I am trusting that you are going to help me win the lottery. Lord, I believe you want to bless me with an easy life so I am trusting you are going to make all my problems disappear. Lord, I believe you want to bless me with fame so I am trusting that you are going to overlook the things I have to do to get there.
Sounds ridiculous to me. How about you? Yet so often it is our attitude as we make God into our own personal genie. We seem to have missed the point that the Christian life is about producing, not consuming. Where did we go wrong with what Jesus taught us? How did we get is so twisted? Jesus stated:
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. (John 15:5)
I find this whole passage to be one of the most profound in John's purpose of revealing the incredible relationship Jesus made possible between us, Jesus, the Spirit and the Father. Yes, I could simply say God but I want to make this a little more personal than the title "God" allows.
We have the purpose of remaining in Jesus, allowing him to remain in us and to be producers. The emphasis has to be on all three here because our purpose is to produce but we can't do it unless we remain in Jesus and he in us. But let me also point this out to show just how important it is to produce:
My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples. (John 15:8)
How wrong we are to believe that God's desire is to make us comfortable here. Jesus did not take on the torturous cross so we could be comfortable but instead so that we could spend eternity with our Father. We are here so that our faith would be developed, to mature spiritually, to become producers as mature citizens of the Kingdom. It is the selfishness of our sin nature that pushes us to be consumers, to take from God and consume the seed he has given us instead of sowing it as we are intended to do. But that is only part of the issue.
We would understand our place so much more if we would but remain in Jesus and allow him to remain in us. We can't do anything without him. Sure, we can produce great things according to this world but with no value in the world to come. Jesus told us to "lay up" our treasures in heaven where nothing can touch them. The principle is so simple but we often complicate the application.
We complicate it by never really dying to ourselves. The things of the sinful nature we died to still lick at us, producing selfishness, envy, conceit, unforgiveness, hate, depression. These things and so much more are produced in a life that is not found in Jesus and in which Jesus has no part. So before we can become producers who glorify the Father, we have to possess Jesus and be possessed by him.
This is not a self-will endeavor. It is not accomplished by intellectual pursuit. It cannot be grasped by an unspiritual mind. It cannot be helped by psychology or science. It is born of the conviction of the Holy Spirit who plants a seed in us that we must desire. "Seek my face" God told a disobedient nation, "and you will find me." God gives us the desire for him but we have to act on it. He convicts us but we have to act on it. Jesus has shown us the way "Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me" but we have to desire it. In desiring it the Spirit will do all that is necessary for us to die to ourselves with great joy as we are possessed by the only one who truly loves us.
We have to be possessed by Jesus and not our selfish desires in order to fulfill our purpose of being producers. Examine your day; it should be quite easy to tell what you are and if you find you are something you don't want to be, you know what to do to see it changed.