Keys to the Kingdom
By Carolyn Tucker
Many years ago, I was visiting with a neighbor on her property and she was explaining the layout of her front-yard landscaping. She said, “The ground is so rocky that we simply planted the trees where we could dig a hole, so that’s why there’s no rhyme or reason to them.” Since she mentioned this, I suspect she was a little disappointed with the final outcome. Everybody has 20/20 hindsight. Any decisions we make, or neglect to make, today will always affect the future sooner or later.
Believers really need to live our lives on purpose and not helter skelter. We can’t just wing it and hope everything turns out OK; we have to be intentional. Flying by the seat of your pants usually means you’ve got a hole in them and have lost your cell phone, wallet, key, etc. Maybe you’re a squared-away person and write a to-do list every morning and meet all your goals by supper. If so, that’s great and you deserve a pat on the back. I sure hope God shows up somewhere on that list.
When you were created in your mother’s womb, God wasn’t just haphazardly throwing a bunch of stuff together in some wild and crazy experiment. You were fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose! Your Creator had a rhyme and reason to your layout. As Christ followers, we were designed to bear good fruit. So we must stay very close to the Master Gardener so He can prune us in order for us to grow strong in Him.
When we live for God with a purposeful heart, one of our main objectives is to bear fruit. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things” (Galatians 5:22,23 NLT). Developing the fruit of the spirit never goes out of style and will continue as long as we belong to Christ Jesus. “When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father” (John 15:8 NLT).
We are to constantly abide in Jesus, so we must make our personal relationship with Him our #1 priority. The following quote was written in one of my journals: “If we don’t make time for friends, we won’t have any.“ If we aren’t diligent about making time for Jesus, we won’t have any fruit. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned“ (John 15:5,6 NLT). Basically, if we choose to live an unproductive self-absorbed life, we’ll end up in a worthless stick pile because we‘ve disconnected from the life-giving Vine.
Jesus didn’t come to give us religion, He came to give us a genuine personal love relationship with the Father through Him. “So you must remain in life-union with Me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to Mine” (John 15:4 TPT).
The Key: Make sure your relationship with God has a daily rhyme and reason, and prepare to be pruned.