Article by Sherika Chew, Prayer Counseling Intern. You can learn more about Sherika and her work with FHI here!
All week, I’ve been trying to muster up the motivation to write this article. This morning, pressured by a rapidly approaching deadline, I sat down with my laptop determined not to move until something came to me. Staring at the blank screen, I prayed aloud, “Lord, you gotta give me something”.
I closed my eyes and listened for His voice. I flipped through my Bible, hoping some Scripture would leap off the pages and inspire me. Still nothing.
Just as I was about to give up, I was reminded of something I have had to tell myself over and over again. I have even had to write on my bathroom mirror lest I completely forget. Fruit happens. It just does.
It is not something we in our humanness can produce at will. It is a direct result of a relationship with the Father. Just as a plant’s growth is dependent on the soil in which it is planted, and has absolutely no control over what it can and cannot produce, so it is with us. A plant’s sole job is to receive water and light; then, fruit happens. It just does.
Reminded of this, I got up from my laptop to sit with my Daddy for a while and just receive from Him, with no regard for deadlines or agendas. And as we talked, two Scriptures came to mind.
Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.
[People will]… having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:5
These are two very familiar scriptures that we all know and quote often. But I tried to not let familiarity rob them of their innate truths. The Lord began to tie them together for me and bring them to life, and in doing so challenged me to evaluate myself.
What It Means to Bear Fruit
How often do I attempt to bear fruit with no connection to the vine? How often do I go days or weeks without receiving personal revelation from the Father, and feel fine about it because I still appear godly to others? How often are my prayers laden with requests for God to fulfill my desires or to make my day easier? What would it look like for me to instead, several times a day, go away with Him and just receive His love?
Would that be enough? Do I really believe I would see results in my circumstances?
How much more power would there be in the works that I do, in the words I speak to others, and in the way that I love? How much more fruit would I just “happen” to bear?
Even as I write this, I feel a caution to look closely at these questions–to ask them not because they sound pious, or because acknowledging them makes me feel better about myself, but rather, because I need to really take the time to look at my life. I want to determine if my behavior reflects the concrete belief that I can do nothing without Him.
Does it just sound nice to say? If I am burnt out, is it possible that I am denying the power that is necessary to be able to walk this thing out? Do I sit with Him until love and good works naturally flow out of me? Or do I often go where I have not been sent? Or worse yet, am I so far from His heart I can’t even tell if I am being sent?
If I have learned anything over the past few years, it is that I am a complete mess without Him. I know this cognitively. I think we all know it on some level, but how quickly we forget! The cares of life, our own insecurities, the noise of the world, and the lies of the enemy all bombard us and try to drown out the Father’s voice. But He is most assuredly speaking, and this is the only real burden He has given us: to be diligent in finding that still small voice.
We have to make it our business to sit with it and do nothing else until we can clearly hear it and understand it; until it shapes us, and sets us free; until it, and only it, empowers us to action. Nothing else is required of us. All else will pour out from that relationship. Fruit will inevitably happen. It just will.
Receiving From the True Vine
We are all uniquely created to display a different attribute of the personality and creativity of God, but it is He who expresses it through us. It is He who sets men free. He is who mends the broken hearts, heals the sick, and writes sermons on our hearts; He is the only reason I am writing this now. He is the only reason you are reading this. If He isn’t saying it, it’s not worth being said.
This revelation is freeing for me today. Where are you stressed today? I urge you, right now stop what you are doing and receive from Him. I guarantee you, fruit will happen.
Lord, please help us to remember that we can truly do nothing if we do not abide in you, and that the power to walk out genuine godliness comes from direct relationship to you. May we be brave enough to hide away with you, and humble enough to only move at your command. You are everything. You are enough. Make this real for us, dear Jesus; may we never become so familiar with your Word that we rob of it of its potential to change our lives. Please show us the places that we have already let this happen, and revive our sleeping spirits. Draw us by your spirit to true repentance and daily, moment by moment intimacy with you. Remind us that your voice and spirit are all we have, and nothing else matters. In Jesus’ name.
Continue Your Journey
When we are aligned with God’s heart for us, we give His light back to the world around us. Are you ready to hear what He has in store for you directly from Him? Join FHI this fall for the class 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice, where you can grow in the ways that you personally connect with the Lord. Class starts Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Richmond, VA, and runs for 8 weeks. You can learn more and register here!
Prayer counseling can also help you more fully connect to the True Vine. If you’d like to make an appointment or learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 571-393-1278. You will receive a response in no later than 1 business day.