Bloom Where You Were Planted, By Ohio
April 25, 2017
Dear Amish Voice,
We cannot agree with all your writings. The Christian life is not just an easy downhill ride. Consider 1 Peter 4:18. Also 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. I am not saying only Amish will be saved, but this is where we (and some of you) were planted. Read 1 John 2:15 and 19 and Proverbs 22:28. I do not have all the answers, but want to try to bloom where I was planted by the grace of God.
Joe Keim Responds:
Thank you for your admonishment and concern. We fully agree with you; the Christian life is not an easy downhill do- as-you-please ride.
In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul wrote: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
You and I cannot manufacture or produce our own fruit by following a list of do’s and don’ts. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance are the work of the Spirit in us; that is, if we have been born of God and are walking in the Spirit (see John 1:13; John 3:3-5, Romans 8).
Jesus said: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:4-5).
Consider the natural branches on a fruit- bearing tree. They do one thing and one thing alone: they abide in the tree. It is the tree that forwards nutrients to the branches and causes the branches to bear fruit. In the same way, Christians are the branches through which the life of God flows. All we can do, and must do, if we want to bear fruit, is abide in Jesus Christ.
How do we abide in Christ?
The word “abide” simply means to live a life of consistency. Going through short spells where we really seek God will not substitute for abiding in Christ. This is one major reason why more Christians don’t experience the abundant life that Jesus came to bring (John 10:10). Most people only really abide in Jesus when the going gets tough. Then when the pressure lets up, they relax and go back to doing their own thing.
As Christians, we know they need to abide in the Lord more, but many don’t feel they have the time. If we would see ourselves as worthless as a detached branch without Jesus, we would make the time. The more demands we have on us, the more we need to abide in the Lord.
What abiding in Christ is not: We sometimes think it is our own holiness that produces the fruit. The moment we think that way, we are no longer abiding (resting in, clinging to) in the vine, and we will become fruitless if we persist in that mindset. The word of God declares, "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).
This is speaking of our self-righteousness. All that we do on our own to obtain right standing with the Lord is grossly insufficient. But when we come to Jesus and receive His salvation, we are given His righteousness (2 Cor 5:21).
Jesus said, “…by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20)
—Joe Keim, Ashland, OHcomments powered by Disqus« Back to Articles