As a society, we constantly want more, bigger, and better things. We don't want to settle for a regular car, we want a new one. Even when we go to buy a meal at a fast-food restaurant, they ask us if we want to upgrade. How many times have we asked McDonalds to supersize our french fries instead of settling for the regular size? If we don't settle for the normal, or a small serving in our everyday lives, why would we settle for a small helping of Jesus? Why are we not asking for our portion of Jesus to be supersized?? The normal helping of Jesus is one where you encounter Him every once in a while. You see and experience Jesus on occasion when you don't learn to grow and abide in Him.
John 15:8 CSB
My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.
What does it mean to "abide" in Jesus? We have all heard people say that they are going to Heaven, or that they hope they are going to Heaven. On the flip side of that, we meet people who know with every bone in their body that they are going to Heaven. They have faith and can rest in the facts that they read in God's word. These same people are owning their faith and are living out their lives in a way that brings other to God. They are abiding in God, living and dwelling in Him so that their life reflects Him.
The Greek word for abide is "meno". In the Greek translation this means to hang out, or just remain with God. Can you imagine if we got the chance to hang out with Jesus? Actually, we can! We get the chance to hang out with Jesus every single minute of every day. The question is, are we taking that opportunity? Or are we settling for less of Jesus? What John 15:8 is really saying is that we need to be able to abide, or meno, in Jesus so that we can produce fruit that glorifies him. Most of us spend our time just visiting with Jesus. What we really need to be doing is to hang out. Stop just visiting Him. Sit with Him and let him reflect in your life. That is the only way to produce the life He wants you to live.
John 15:5 CSB
I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
If you were to really answer honestly, what category do you think you would fall in? Are you a Christian who dwells in God and produces much fruit? Or are you the Christian that visits with God and produces little fruit? If you want your life to reflect God and to be a productive Christian, you have to learn to hang out with Him. Your life isn't about what you can accomplish. It is all about what God can accomplish through you. The purpose of your life is to give him Glory, so taht you can be a shining beacon to bring others to Him.
We see above that we can do nothing without Jesus. We may think we are out there getting things done, but make no mistake, Jesus is at work in you. We live in a world where people are constantly telling us to "live your life", "you do you", etc. What happened to living our life the way God wants us to? What about doing God like things instead of human like things? You can be an example through God. You can live your life in a way that will help raise Him up and glorify Him throughout your life and your actions. All you have to do is learn to hand out with him.
Many people visit with Jesus, few hang out with Jesus
-Pastor Brian DiCicco
Satan can convince us that we don't need to hang out with God. He can give us just enough of God to make us think we are ok. To make us think that we are following God. When in reality, we are listening to the world instead of God and we actually find ourselves lost. Our world has a lack of discipline to live for God. Jesus is here to change our lives and the lives of the people around us. Our job on this Earth is to bear fruit for Jesus. Don't you want to bear as much fruit as you can, so people see Jesus through you?
Let's think a little bit about fruit:
• Fruit bears the character of its source. Apple tree bears apples, orange tree bears oranges. • Fruit is always visible. No such thing as invisible fruit.
• Fruit always exists for the benefit of others. Fruit is nutritious, it benefits the people who eat it.
How do we do this? How do we live our lives in a way that produces fruit for God? The first way is by abiding in Him. We live in a broken world with broken people. If we want to show up with much fruit for the people around us, we have to focus on God instead of just visiting Him. What do I mean by focusing on God? Think about how fruit is actually grown. It is loved, watered, fertilized, and pruned until the plant grows into a strong plant. We need to look at our lives. What are we watering and fertilizing? Is it something that helps us glorify God?
Is anyone reading this a gardener? One rule of thumb is to prune the plant. We have to cut it back and cut off the dead parts of the branch. Why? Why would we cut off part of the plant when we want the plant to grow and be bigger? Those of us who have ever tried to keep a plant alive, know that when you cut off the dead, or prune your plants, they grow faster. Pruning a plant helps to reduce the amount of competition there is for the resources the plant has. We need to decide what is competing in our lives with God. We have lots of things in this world that are pulling our attention away from God. We need to learn to dwell in God so that we can clearly see what needs to be pruned from our lives.
Our bodies and our lives have finite resources. Our time, our breath, our blood, those are all finite resources. There is only so much that our bodies and minds can physically handle. We have to be careful to prune those things that are competing for the resources that could be allocated to God. If we don't, we could end up a dried, brown plant struggling to produce fruit for those around us.