Abiding in Christ –> Fruitfulness, Relationships, Impact
Last week in my blog I shared a powerful dream my husband had 5 years ago. The blog was called Abiding in Christ –> Guaranteed Success. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can read it on my website here: https://terrisullivant.com/category/blog/
I believe that success is what comes out of abiding in Christ as a lifestyle. There are 3 categories that I can think of that make up that success – fruitfulness, relationships and impact.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 ESV
The most essential relationship we will ever have is with God himself. He is telling us this in John 15:5. He’s letting us know that if we will stay connected to him, always living in communion with and dependence upon Him, that we will be fruitful.
That sounds like success to me! God’s definition of success and our definition of success may be different though. We may define it by positions we have in our careers, the amount of money we make, the possessions we have, social status and a host of other things. According to this verse, success is about being fruitful.
What does it mean to be fruitful?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 ESV
These are the qualities of character that are formed in us as we abide in Christ, as the Holy Spirit has his way in our lives. When we have these things in increasing measures, we are considered successful in the eyes of God.
Another thing I think of to describe success is the quality of our relationships.
“Beloved let us love one another, for love is from God and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God…There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears have not been perfected in love… 1 John 4:7 & 10
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no on than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12,13
What would you say characterizes your closest relationships with friends and family? Are they characterized by putting them first, laying down your life for them, displaying the fruit of the Spirit in your relationships with them? Is there fear driving any of them? Is there fear driving your relationship with God?
The Great Commandment in Matthew 22:37-40 says that in God’s eyes, everything boils down to 2 things: Love for God and love for people. If we do these well and keep on growing in both all the days of our life, we are successful by His definition.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV
Isn’t it amazing that God has prepared specific good works for us to do before we were even born? One translation of this verse in Ephesians says that “we are His masterpiece” – his workmanship in this translation, His works of art. And in his great big heart of love, He has planned for us to do amazing things to bless others and serve Him in this world.
What an honor that we get to be His representatives, to let others know how good He is by the good works we do. We do them according to the way He has uniquely designed and gift us. We do them as we abide in Him, are led by the Holy Spirit and motivated by love. We get to Be Like Jesus in a world that needs to understand who He really is. This leads to the impact we long for.
So don’t go looking for impact, abide in Christ, let His love and love for others motivate you to do the good works He has planned for you before you were ever born. Then impact will come looking for you!
Be faithful to these things and at the end of the day, you can hope to hear these words from heaven:
“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:23. ESV
With love and prayers,