Who Are The Qualified
In God’s kingdom, there are many jobs. As God’s workers, we have different gifts and varying tasks. We may question whether we are qualified for our role. As humans, we value visible abilities from intangible ones such as “Can I preach well?” to the very physical: “Can I replace a fan belt?” We value visible skills, but what does God value?
In all of God’s kingdom work, He seeks one thing. God desires “abiding”: people who are connected to the Vine. The abilities we value are secondary in God’s eyes. He focuses on our relationship with Christ.
The disciples were very prepared workers. They had studied in the world’s best seminary: sitting at Jesus’ feet, walking at His side, and listening to His teaching. With such an education, we’d expect Christ’s last instructions to be “Go ye!” But instead, Christ’s last words were “Tarry ye.” “Wait until the Spirit that is in Me also fills you.” Christ knew they were completely inadequate without Him in them.
Christ is our perfect example of abiding. When He told the disciples to abide, He invited them to join Him in a life of dependence and yieldedness, of union with the Father. Christ was the perfect example of God working through a man totally surrendered to Him. He said, “The Son can do nothing of himself” and “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” God moved and Christ spoke. God directed and Christ worked. There was perfect union between them. Whatever our job in God’s kingdom, Christ desires for us the complete union He experienced and the power that it gave Him.
Christ said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” He used the vine and its branches to illustrate union. The branch has no life without the Vine. It must be connected to the Vine. But the relationship goes beyond connection: the very life of the Vine fills the branch. The connection exists only so the life of the Vine can flow into the branch. Sometimes we desperately cling to Christ, maintaining the connection. Other times we’re content with only a tenuous relationship. In either case, we haven’t found the fullness of the life of the Vine that Christ desires for us. Without it, we are ineffective.
The branch is also a copy of the Vine. The Vine is the pattern for the branches. We aren’t called to be good people. We’re called to be copies of Christ! But imitation of Christ is impossible without Christ’s life in us. We try hard to imitate Him! We improve our behavior, control our sinning, and mature in our relationships. But like the disciples before Pentecost, we come up short. We bicker among ourselves. We run when trials come. We’re ashamed of Christ when we should suffer with Him. And the world looks on, wondering why Christ can’t change the Christians! The life of Christ in us will change our very nature so our life is a mirror-image of His.
The life of the Vine is productive: the branch bears abundant fruit. Alone, we are never fitted for the jobs that God gives us. Christ said, “Without me, ye can do nothing.” It is impossible to perform even simple tasks correctly without Christ. The more clearly we see Christ, the more we recognize our inadequacy. When we try to do His will without Him, we do it with erroneous purposes or wrong attitudes. We grow a beautiful crop of leaves, but no fruit. True fruit comes only from the True Vine.
How can we truly abide? What fits us for our role in His kingdom? The relationship with the Vine comes from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Christ’s life in us. Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit at the beginning of His ministry. The Father’s life filled Christ in all its fullness through the Spirit. But how can we have the Holy Spirit in us?
The Holy Spirit is God Himself. Men don’t control God; rather God moves as He wills. So we go to God to humbly ask for His filling. In Luke 11:13, Christ said, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” So we ask. Ask God to empty us of ourselves. Ask God to show us ourselves and our sin. Ask God to show us Christ, in His beauty and fullness. Above all, we ask for the Holy Spirit. And then, as Christ said to His disciples, “Tarry.” God as a good Father will give us more and more of His Holy Spirit, filling us to overflowing with His Presence. Only then are we truly fitted for the tasks He has for us.
::Note:: To download a PDF of the entire Newsletter for these two months simply click the link below!November/December 2012 Newsletter