John 15:8: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (NKJV)
To love God and to love others is to produce everlasting fruit. We show our love through serving God and others, placing them above our own desires. During the unfruitful times in my life it never fails, I feel a deep sense of longing and emptiness for more, not much different than the emptiness felt with depression. One thing I’ve learned is that the only way to quench that longing is to set aside my selfish excuses and produce fruit through loving God and others more than myself.
Have you ever prayed for opportunities to serve or share Christ only to talk yourself out of it? I always wonder why the heck I do that. Its like I am warring with myself. On the one hand I am desperate to serve, and on the other hand I am lazy and think only of myself. It goes something like this: God, are you sure that’s what you want me to do? As if I’m waiting for Him to say, nah just do whatever makes you feel good.. yeah I don’t think so.
I wonder what it was like for the apostle Paul to give up everything he had (Phil 3:8), his friends, his job, his comfort, to follow Jesus Christ’s command and produce everlasting fruit for the Kingdom of God? I can imagine there were times when he was sick and tired of dealing with it all. But I can only imagine what it must have been like when he stood before his creator. Paul understood that eternity and producing fruit far outweighed any earthly treasure or comfort. An understanding I sadly so often fail to grasp.
Why is it so important to produce fruit for the Kingdom?
It Pleases God
Galatians 1:10 says “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (NKJV)
Our focus in life should be to please God. If it isn’t then we need to make it our focus! I recently heard someone say that there was a time in her life when she wasn’t quite as crazy about seeking God. She said she begged God to make her want Him! This was such a powerful thing for me to hear. How badly do I want to please God, my redeemer and faithful father? If the thought to please God isn’t all consuming then I need to beg Him to consume me! I want all of my thoughts to be focused on pleasing God and making a difference for His kingdom, not my own. Don’t I want other people to experience the freedom and restoration that I have? If I truly do then I will make producing fruit and pleasing my God and Savior my focus in life.
It is All That Matters for Eternity
Francis Chan illustrates it beautifully in a video I recently watched. His illustration shows how short our time here on earth is compared with eternity. After watching it I was embarrassed by the way I have often lived my life for foolishness rather than for God. I have spent so much effort focused on meaningless things. For crying out loud, Paul wanted to die and be with Christ rather than be on this earth! His only reason for wanting to stay was so that he could impact the lives of others for Christ. Thats heavy. How badly do I want to impact people for eternity and what am I doing about it?
Philippians 1: 23-24 “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.”
Paul understood that Eternity is all that truly matters. I want to be like Paul!
The only thing I can control are my own choices. I have to wake up every day and make the choice to focus on eternity, loving God and loving others in all I do, so that I don’t get to the end of the day, or life for that matter, with regret.