The Greatest Fruit

How well do we really know the people in our lives?  Have I been with others for a long time and thought I knew them?  A few weekends ago, I retreated to the mountains with six girlfriends I pray regularly with each week.  We thought we knew each other very well.  In a few days, however, we became even closer, deeper, and more intimate as we shared our backgrounds, our life stories, and our testimonies of how we came to know Jesus Christ as our own personal Savior.  We came away even closer and having a deeper friendship through intimate communication and understanding.

Jesus’ disciples were like this too.  They had seen him do miracles, change people’s lives, and teach in the temple.  One day Jesus was explaining who He really was to the disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” John 14:6-7

Jesus was explaining that He was God.  The disciples had seen God the Father through Jesus and had actually seen God… Jesus is God.  But Phillip didn’t quite get it.  He asked “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”  But Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am?  Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show Him to you?  John 14:8-9

Jesus desires for his followers to abide with Him.  He commands it so we can know Him intimately.  Many religious people have studied Jesus but they do not know Jesus intimately.  Jesus told his followers that as they abide with him, He calls them “friends”.  “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”  John 15:15

The greatest fruit from abiding with Jesus is to know Him intimately. 

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917), a British Bible teacher, founder of the Bible Training College at Clapham, and author of My Utmost for His Highest said it well:

“Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit.  The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ.  We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him?…It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to step more intimately with Him.  Fruit bearing is always mentioned as the manifestation of an intimate union with Jesus Christ.  When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic.  The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself…the only impression left by such a life is that of the strong calm sanity that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.”

Do I abide so deeply that I know Jesus intimately?  Does my life show the “strong calm sanity” that my Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him?  How about you?  What do you think?  Do you just know about Jesus or do you know Him intimately?   A great place to start is to read and meditate on His words written to you in the book of John in the New Testament.

Happy to Abide

Faithful, caring, hardworking, giving, easy to talk to, intelligent, funny, moral, trustworthy – this is my dad.  When I was young I was happy to follow my dad and watch what he was doing.  I would rake leaves with him in the yard, sing songs with him while playing the piano, and play with toys on the floor while he sat in the chair reading the newspaper.  I just wanted to be with him.  And he enjoyed being with me also.

I still enjoy his company and miss being farther away from him now.  We talk on the phone at times and I savor any written words on a card he and my mom send.

Abiding with Christ is the same but so much more.  I desire to know the One who loves me so much to give his life for me.  Someone I can talk with, who is faithful and who keeps His promises.  He protects me, provides for me, cares for me and just enjoys me because I am His.  It isn’t a chore to abide with Christ.  It is a pleasure because I know Him.  Jesus said:

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest… I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:28-29

I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

There is a traditional gospel song that has been sung by numerous artists that says it well:

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

I am weak, but Thou art strong,
Jesus, keep me from all wrong,
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

I am happy to walk with Jesus, to abide with Him, to bear “fruit” that says I am His.  Do you know him?  Are you happy to abide with Him daily?