Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith.(Hebrews 12:1-2)
Jesus didn’t want to be known as Messiah before it was His time, but He just couldn’t seem to be hidden! Whether it was Tyre and Sidon or Decapolis, whenever Jesus tried to go somewhere or minister discreetly, people couldn’t help but spread the word or beg Him for healing. Even when Jesus commanded them not to make Him known, they continued to go and tell everyone about His incredible works. The disciples never seemed to catch on, though. Even after witnessing Him miraculously provide enough food for over 5,000 Jews and over 4,000 Gentiles on two separate occasions, their hearts were still hardened to who Jesus was! Like the Pharisees, who kept asking for signs because of their unbelief, they kept forgetting the amazing things Jesus said and did to reveal His glory!
Wherever Jesus is, there will be undeniable signs of His presence. The wind can’t go anywhere without affecting the environment: tree leaves rustle, things sway and move, there’s a rushing sound, etc. It’s the same with the Lord . Whenever Jesus truly dwells in someone’s heart, He will manifest Himself in tangible ways! That’s how we truly know if we’re connected to Him in a saving relationship, if our lives begin to model and desire His (1 John 2:5-6)! Those who are truly walking with Christ can’t help but show the evidence of His life in them. So what are some of these signs? According to the apostle Paul, things like agape love, deep joy, unshakeable peace, and self-control are some of the signs of the Spirit’s work in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).
But remember, this is all the result of His presence and work in us, not our own effort. In truth, nothing humans do can ever really change the basic facts of our life and world; nothing we do changes the fundamental truth of our fleeting, sinful nature (Ecclesiastes 1:9, 15). Only Jesus can come in and break the cycle we’re hopelessly trapped in, and He does. The crooked can’t be made straight, except by Him. Like the disciples, we forget so quickly that He changes our lives and allows us to please Him, not ourselves! Fruit grows when He’s there, not when we force it to come.
- So what do we do? We focus on drawing closer to Jesus, abiding in Him and knowing Him, trusting that, out of that, He will bear fruit in our lives. A life that follows Christ comes when we seek and love and listen to Him, not when we try to follow the rules. I personally had so much victory this past week over my sin because I was focused on intimately knowing and loving Jesus with my heart, so imagine what happens when our lives are centered on just walking with Jesus. He is our best friend, our brother, our constant companion who’s right there with us everywhere we go, and He loves us more than we can imagine. You wanna bear fruit and live a life pleasing to Him? Just spend time with Him, He’ll rub off on you.