In It To Win It
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. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! -John 15:5-7 NLT
Spoiler Alert: We win! But, how we do it is an individual choice.
Have you ever seen an ugly win? The plays are sloppy. The execution is poor. At points, it may be painful to watch. Yet, somehow, victory is eked out.
On the other end of the spectrum is the enjoyment of observing a job well done. The colliding of talent and practice are on full display. Even the common spectator can conclude the win was inevitable.
A win is a win, right? That is for you to decide.
It is true that salvation alone gives us victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). By openly declaring Jesus is Lord and believing in our hearts God raised Him from the dead, we are saved (Romans 10:9). However, Jesus Himself has told us to go and make more disciples (Matthew 28:19). As Christ's ambassadors, God appeals to the world through us (2 Corinthians 5:20). What we do and say is to be done as representatives of the Lord (Colossians 3:17).
Our salvation provides the power of the Holy Spirit to live inside of us, so we may reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. However, individually, we limit the fullness of God; operating alone, we are fragmented. We are not fully-functioning because we are not whole.
The Spirit has given each of us different spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4) to serve the Lord (1 Corinthians 12:5). Collectively we are the body of Christ; each of us plays a part (1 Corinthians 12:27). We can only be whole in harmony, giving strength and care to all parts (1 Corinthians 12:22-26). Together we demonstrate the grace of God that is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). The fullness of God is revealed.
When you use your gifts to give to others and talents to add value to the Kingdom, you draw others to Christ. However, equally important, and sometimes overlooked, is allowing the gifts and talents of other believers to be poured back into you; your cup needs to be refilled to continue to pour. Prayers may be answered by God, in Jesus' Name, through the help of another.
This process of giving and receiving in the body of Christ is how unity is achieved as God intended. His glory comes to fruition, producing a bountiful harvest. Asking for help from the Church is essential to staying connected to the True Vine.
Jesus said, "Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions" (Matthew 7:20). Those who obey His call to work together -giving and receiving- (Ephesian 4:1-16) and put into practice His teachings will be like trees along the river, bearing much fruit, prospering in all they do (Psalm 1:2-3). The Lord will be full of praise. They can expect to hear "...Well done, my good and faithful servant..." (Matthew 25:21 NLT).
"To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away" (Matthew 25:29 NLT). Utilizing all the resources provided by our Source maximizes our effectiveness in the Kingdom; not using all that is available is not a good return on His investment. We want to do all that we can do. Jesus said, what we do for the least of His brothers and sisters, we do for Him (Matthew 25:40).
How are you approaching your promised victory?
Is it apparent that you are in it to win it?
Or is a win a win?
Authentic Existence® Affirmation: I will live my life for Christ, giving and receiving in a manner that shows I am in it to win it!
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus! May we stay connected to Him and serve our purpose well in the body of Christ, displaying the fruit of the Spirit and producing much fruit through disciples for Your Kingdom.
In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen!
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