What Needs To Be Cut Off?

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “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. When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. John 15:1‭-‬5‭, ‬8‭-‬12 NLT

A question (that we will reveal at the end of this post) came to mind after reading John 15 during Bible study and while watching a video about pruning grapes. But first, we had to learn what was pruning hence the reason for watching the video about pruning grapes.

Here is a short video showing pruning of a vine. Spring Vineyard Pruning

According to google dictionary, to prune is to “trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.” Basically pruning is to strip away dead or overgrown branches to increase growth and productivity. It is to strip away the things that hinder a tree from producing fruit.

So why did Jesus, who is our True Vine and God, the Gardener, want you to know that pruning in the believer’s life is crucial?

Pruning is to help you divert your attention and reliance back to God. It gets those dead things out of your life as well as uproot those things that are distracting you, or harming you and your walk with God, or are useless to your walk with Him, those things that are idols, diversionary battles, weights and besetting sins, bitterness, unforgiveness, ungodly soul ties, etc.

1 samuel 12:21 Don’t turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or deliver because they’re useless.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, 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. Hebrews 12:1 NLT

God wants to cut off those things that keep you bound and pull you away from Him. God is about maturing you spiritually, healing you, and preparing you for each next season of your life and purpose.

The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. Luke 8:14 NLT

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT

God is about building His relationship with you and you being a godly, successful impact on those around you. Jesus went before us and showed us how to bear fruit and not just bear fruit, but much of it. He remained in the Father and stayed in perfect fellowship with the Father. He prayed daily, morning and night. He sought after God first and He lived righteously. He depended on God. He obeyed God. He loved God with all His heart, soul, and strength. And He loved others as He loved Himself. He chose to follow God and stay connected with God daily even at the cost of His life. God may not be asking us to give up our lives physically but He definitely want us to surrender our flesh daily and every area of our lives to His sovereigness and unfailing love.

Jesus said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34 NLT

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
Matthew 22:37 NLT

So what is the fruit we are to bear?

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Do those things that will show you have turned from your sins. Work out your salvation with fear (reverence or respect) and trembling. Philippians 2:12-13 Make your calling and election sure. 2 Peter 1:10 Turn away from sin and turn to God. You can not do this in your own strength. This takes God’s grace, godly sorrow that comes from God, and a habitual reading of God’s Word.

Bear fruit in winning souls to the kingdom. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30 KJV Are you sharing your testimony about the hope of your salvation? Are you encouraging others and teaching others about Jesus? Are you making disciples? Jesus said “therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19 NLT And are you trusting in the Holy Spirit to lead you?

Bear fruit in exuding the characteristics of God-fruits of the spirit. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:17‭-‬22‭, ‬24‭-‬25 NLT You dont just do kind acts. You become kind. You become merciful. Your mind and heart are being transformed day by day as you saturate in the Word of God and surrender to the lordship of Jesus.

So in conclusion, provide evidence that you are a disciple of Jesus and fellow co-heir. Provide evidence you love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and you love others as you love yourself.

Provide evidence that God has given you a new spirit and is transforming you day by day into the likeness of His Son.

Bearing much fruit is also receiving the life and life to the full Jesus came to give us.

It is living up to God’s standards and learning to depend on God and live in His presence.

It is remaining in Him and staying connected to Jesus, understanding and demonstrating that a part from God you can do nothing. And that is also bearing fruit.

Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. Psalms 127:1 NLT

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord ’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.
Hebrews 12:5‭, ‬11‭-‬11‭, ‬14‭-‬15‭, ‬24‭-‬29 NLT

Here is the question, we as believers need to ask ourselves, no ask Him?

What things does God need to cut out of your life for you to bear much fruit and show that you are God’s and He is yours?

Tumbleweeds

Ever see an old western movie and in it a scene with tumbleweeds rolling aimlessly across the dry and dusty, barren ground?

According to Britannica.com, “a tumbleweed is a plant that breaks away from its roots and is driven about by the wind as a light rolling mass, scattering its seeds as it goes.” A tumbleweed looks like a nature hair ball.

Although tumbleweeds are said to be good for something like uranium clean up, food for cattle, or as props or decor for a production or event, these primarily dead plants are quite hazardous and can result in fires and cause allergy symptoms.

But how interesting that a tumbleweed is a plant that breaks away from its roots and is driven about by the wind! Read it again. Ever see a leaf fall off of a plant? What happens to that leaf? Can we attach it back to the plant? It often withers away, right? And we know we can’t just put it back on. Things detached from the root of something that provides it life does not survive. And in the case of the tumbleweeds, it rolls aimlessly around.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. (John 15:4 NLT)

In the Windy City (Chicago), there are times when the winds are so strong, you get pushed forward, pushed back, or thrust to the side. There are times you may feel like you are being picked up. The wind tosses you back and forth like a little rag doll.

And that is how life can be when you are not living according to your purpose. When you are riddled with doubt and incoming idealogies of the world and your heart is not guarded. When you are bombarded with many opinions and values and things that come along to make you doubt God. Ever had someone try to convince you that you should do x, y, z when you were just sure of the direction God was taking you in? Ever heard something someone claimed was Biblical but you like “wait a minute, is it or is it not? Has your prayer life been dry like a desert? Are you discouraged and full of doubt? Is everyone’s voice louder than God’s voice and your own? Are you wishy-washy and unfocused? Are you struggling with fleshly desires, feelings and old ways you thought you resolved?

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. (Ephesians 4:14 NLT)

Jesus died and God raised Him from the grave so that you can have life and life to the full. He not only wants us to have eternal life but to be able to live and survive here and now with confidence and faith in Him who is sovereign and involved in every detail of our lives. We don’t have to be tossed around in the wind like the tumbleweed or little rag doll.

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 NLT)

Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (John 10:6‭-‬10 MSG)

To conclude, remember this: things detached from the root of something that provides it life does not survive. And in the case of the tumbleweeds, it rolls aimlessly around. And we don’t want to be tumbleweeds do we? We don’t want to be hazardous to ourselves and others, do we? So, how do we refrain from turning in to tumbleweeds spiritually?

  • Don’t detach from God. Remain in Him. “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. (John 15:5 NLT)
  • Don’t leave our spirits thirsty, dry and famished. Saturate in the Word of God. Talk with God daily. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:11 & 13-18)
  • Guard our hearts. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23 NLT) Protect our hearts and faith by staying close to our Lord & Savior and remain in Him. What are we listening to, and watching, and feeding on spiritually? What are our distractions and diversionary battles? Also, many people are following their flesh and own desires. They are pursuing things God never intended for them. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3 NLT) There are false teachers and wolves in sheep clothing. The spirit of deception has been operating heavily in the world. Moreover, many people want to serve God on their terms as well as package and shape Him into their own liking and ideaology to justify their lifestyles and mindsets. So, let’s guard our hearts and pray for the wisdom of God and fear of the Lord to fill our hearts. And let us make our calling and election sure. “God wants us to have assurance of our salvation, and the best way to do that is to be pursuing godly virtues and actively growing in the Christian life” (gotquestions.org/make-calling-election-sure.html).
  • Lastly, grow spiritually mature. Salvation may be instant once we accept Jesus Christ as our savior, believe with out hearts and confess with out mouths that God raised Jesus from the dead. We sincerely repent and acknowledge that we need Him as our Lord and Savior. We continually hear His Word for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. However, one thing that is not instant is the renewing of our minds. We have a new nature thanks to Jesus but our minds need to be renewed daily and our flesh need to die daily. This is a process and it takes full surrender to God. Surrender is a process. Can we get an Amen from someone on that?! Pursue God greater than anything else. Seek Him for your purpose and daily living. Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (Ephesians 4:11‭-‬15 NLT)

Read also Jeremiah 14:1-22


What is stunting your spiritual growth? Who or what is getting in the way of you believing God confidently. Are you making your calling and election sure? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

Don’t Sit Down On The Sidelines While In Battle

Have you ever watched a movie where there is a war scene? Two opposing parties charge towards each other with their weapons in their hands, roars bolting from their mouths, and faces matching their burst of adrenaline. Now do you remember seeing any one sitting on the sidelines just watching the battle when they should be fighting? Probably not, right!

This season, or for many of us–seasons, has been rough. The battles we have been facing seem even different than our previous ones. Our enemy is turning up the heat as his time runs out. It feels like we are in a pressure cooker and as the pressure rises, we feel like we are going to explode. Maybe your hope, too, is starting to fade. Maybe your faith feels like it is in jeopardy. Maybe you tell God every other day that you are ready to quit. Maybe you lost your inspiration and motivation. Maybe you lost your discipline. Maybe you know God is hearing you but you still won’t fully trust Him. Maybe you are so tired that you went to sit down, maybe even went to sleep on the battlefield.

The devil, our enemy, grins diabolically. He sees he is wearing us out, life is wearing us out, and we are even wearing our own selves out with worry. Now he just needs us to give up and walk away. We are not realizing that members of our squadrons is gaining ground. We are not realizing that God had given someone on our team the strategy to overcome. We don’t see God release favor to one of our friends. We don’t realize that our fellow brother or sister in Christ has a rhema word and has been praying it over our situations. We didn’t realize God was allowing us to be tested and pruned so He can prepare us for the next assignments and levels in our lives.

We know it is heavy and tiresome. We are talking about that spiritual, emotional, and mental exhaustion and weariness, but let us not give up. Let us learn to rest in God so we can be prepared for any battle and have all we need for it. It has been said often times people give up right before the blessing comes. Let us not faint although we have been weary. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9). Allow God’s grace to kick in because His grace is sufficient.

Sometimes we are often worn out because we are trying to carry the load alone or carry it period. Let us give all our worries and cares to God for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28‭-‬30).

Sometimes we are overthinking and overdoing because we have put our trust in the wrong things and not in God. Sometimes we are worn out because we don’t see ourselves the way God does and we are operating through faulty lenses (wrong mindsets and faulty perspectives of our own identity). We think our value comes from what we do and who they say we are. Sometimes we get weary and hopeless because we lose focus and get preoccupied with what is going wrong in our lives and with what someone else has versus what we have. Sometimes we get weary because we fail to understand that storms will come irregardless of our standing with God or not. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world”(John 16:33).

Sometimes we grow weary because we expect God to work in our time and our way. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Not our will, but God’s will. Sometimes we are weary because we have the wrong people on our team. Is that person distracting you and moving you farther away from God? Sometimes we are weary and opt for a seat on the sidelines of the battle because we are not abiding in the presence of the Lord, developing the fear of the Lord, and walking in His will and wisdom. In these last days, we cannot afford to live outside of the presence of God. There is safety, unfailing love, joy, wisdom, guidance, stability and more in the presence of God. “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 (John 15:5).

There is also victory in the presence of God. When we are in the presence of the victor who is also our creator and Father, we know our position. We also know that despite the external circumstances, dark clouds and frightening storms, the final outcome is in His hands. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

So, get back up and off the sidelines. Take one day at a time. Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). Stay alert. Watch and pray. Talk to God daily; listen when He speaks. Read His Word daily and learn His voice. Remind yourself who God is and remind yourself of His promises. You can go unafraid to the battle line because God has went before us and His team has already won. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “There are plans for good and not for disastor, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).


Why are you sitting on the sidelines of your battle? What is your battle? And what is God doing in your battle? How are you growing? And what still needs to be done for you to overcome?

Two-Sentence Prayer Thursday: Let There Be Light

God is not impressed with our extensive vocabulary or how elegant we can sound with our words. Rather, He is looking for relationship, undivided hearts toward Him, true dependence upon Him, and daily communication with Him. With that said, we will, on Thursdays, post Two-Sentence Prayers to pray. We pray we are sincere, yielded and responsive to the answers, love, and wisdom God gives us as a result of seeking Him wholeheartedly even in the simplest of prayers.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:3 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/gen.1.3.NLT

Summer days are usually bright and sunny. People are usually their happiest during these times due to the typically consistent sunlight, lighter schedules and this being a season of more fun and family time. However, no matter what season you are in physically, seasons of hardship and despair can come in your life either through external circumstances or from your choices or disobedience. Your finances may be in despair. Your marriage and family may be in despair. Your business and your motivation may be plummeting. Your heart may be growing numb and your heart may be incapacitated with worries for your children. Your community may be full of darkness spiritually. Even those you love need some light. But don’t give up. This is the time where the enemy tries to get you to believe your prayers don’t matter and this storm won’t pass. He wants you to abandon your godly gear-full armor of God. He wants you to think that the prayers of the righteous are not effective and the Word of God is not alive and active, a double-edged sword. Pray this today and believe that God desires for you and your family to abide in Him and to not only live in His light but be carriers of His light. We are tonhear His Word continually and share His Word continually for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. And every believer of Christ Jesus is to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Don’t let your temporary circumstances stop you from persevering and praying. Don’t give up. We know it has been rough but trust God with the outcome as you put your focus back on Him, trust Him, and obey Him. Fight the good fight of faith. The deliverance and blessing is on its way.

Today’s Prayer

Father, wherever there is darkness (in my life, my heart, my family, my community, ____), let there be light. Create in me (and whoever else you are praying for) a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me (and him/her).

In Jesus’s name, amen!

Where are you noticing darkness in your life, heart, home, children’s lives, marriage, etc? Talk with God about this and began researching scriptures to combat against this darkness. Get godly counsel and pray in faith without ceasing.


Check us out on via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! Temporarily, our shop and clothing brand is under construction but we still want to encourage you towards living life the fruitful way. Live simply, live fruitfully, and live purposefully!

Two-Sentence Prayer Thursday: Have Hope

God is not impressed with our extensive vocabulary or how elegant we can sound with our words. Rather, He is looking for relationship, undivided hearts toward Him, true dependence upon Him, and daily communication with Him. With that said, we will, on Thursdays, post Two-Sentence Prayers to pray. We pray we are sincere, yielded and responsive to the answers, love, and wisdom God gives us as a result of seeking Him wholeheartedly even in the simplest of prayers.

Today’s Prayer:

Father, help us to not lose hope and to fix our eyes on You, for You are the author and finisher of our faith. Help us to abide in Your presence where safety and unfailing love reside there.

In Jesus’s name,

Amen.


Where are you losing hope at? What can you do to release your worries and cares to God to show Him you will trust Him?

Persistent & Active Faith

In these perilous times, during our waiting seasons, with every storm, and through the bad times, we need persistent and active faith. There are times and certain areas of our lives, we seem to exercise and maintain great faith. Faith in God for your first home. Faith in God for that job or career. Faith in God for that minor financial need to be met. Faith during the good times. And faith during the good times is quite easy right? Does good times even exercise our faith?

Then, there are times of doubt, disobedience, fear of man, laziness in our faith walk or lack of motivation, and more that freeze our faith and seize the spiritual growth and response to God in obedience. Life isn’t easy and we shouldn’t expect an everyday easy life or no trials and tribulations ever. Neither should we slumber spiritually, nor should our faith be dormant and dipped in fear. We are to live victoriously, sisters and brothers, and please God with our faith as well as bear much fruit showing ourselves to be disciples of Jesus.

Not too long ago, we were inspired to study about persistent and active faith. This has been a blessing and we would like to share this bible study with you.

Persistent & Active Faith

According to Dictionary.com, to persist means to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc. And to have faith means that you have complete trust or confidence in someone or something. So, let’s biblically delve further into persistence and active faith.

What does persisting in faith looks like?

To persist in faith means:

To fix my eyes on Jesus for He is the author and finisher or perfecter of my faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2 states that therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Question:

What obstacles can hinder you from fixing your eyes on Jesus? __________

  • distractions and diversionary battles
  • cares of this world, issues, desires, worries
  • disobedience (When we pursue God and aim to please Him through obedience and surrender then our eyes will consistently be on Jesus.)

ACTION:

Persistent Faith

  • Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12 NLT)
  • Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT)
  • Guard your heart against offenses as they will come. Read Proverbs 4:23-27 and Luke 17:1
  • Dont lead with your emotions.
  • Forgive.
  • Allow God to purify and mature your heart.
  • Walk in love. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)
  • Remember who you are in Christ and who He is.
  • Be patient and prayerful.
  • What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? (Romans 8:31 NLT) Know whose team you’re on as a believer. Learn your position in Christ.
  • Get God involved in every situation.
  • Trust God.
  • Focus on Jesus instead of the problems in your life for He has the solutions to your every problem and He loves you unfailingly.
  • Saturate in God’s Word.
  • Pray God’s Will for your life. Submit to it.

EXAMPLE:

Joseph had great persistence in his faith walk. He, despite his hardships, betrayal, lengthy wait, and unfair circumstances, maintained his faith and integrity. He was, after much suffering and lack of justice, elevated to a high position in Egypt.

“Later, Joseph was to become Prime Minister in Egypt and was to be exalted to the highest position in the land, but through all his success and prosperity his faith persisted. These successes did not take away his sense of dependence upon God; he always attributed his success and prosperity to God.” (https://www.wordsoflife.co.uk)

FAITH VERSUS FEAR

Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40 NLT)

So, could it be that the opposite of fear is faith and vice versa? We know that God’s Word says that perfect love casts out fear and so fear is in opposition of love. However, could it be that fear is the opposite of faith for many of us. We don’t believe or trust God because of our fear. Fear is living in terror and responding to the threats we see. Faith is living in divine hope and expectation as God’s Word materializes what is already in the spirit realm into the natural realm. To shorten, faith is living in divine hope and expectation of what we can’t see naturally.

What is faith? How do you persist in it?
Faith is the confidence in God’s Word manifesting the very thing God’s Word released into the atmosphere once prayed and believed (and spoken). Faith is the confidence of the thing God will have come to pass no matter what your circumstances, flesh, and the world says.

Faith is evidence of things not seen and the substance of things hoped for. Faith is confident assurance in God.

Faith is knowing it is even though things or people in the natural realm may question if it exists. Faith says I will prepare for it even though it is not tangibly present yet. Faith is loyalty to the belief that it is no matter how much disbelief tries to enter in and separate us from our expectation.

QUESTION:

Name some moments when you had faith, confident assurance something would come to pass, and you knew it was God’s will for you to trust Him or get the answer to your prayers. ____________________________________

Name one thing or more you want to exercise your faith for. ______________

Then pray God’s will and find scriptures in relation to these things.

He answered, “Because of your little faith [your lack of trust and confidence in the power of God]; for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and [if it is God’s will] it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20 AMP)

Persistent & Active Faith

Persistent and active faith is consistent confidence and persistent trust in God.

This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. (Revelation 14:12 NLT)

Then Jesus used this story to teach his followers that they should always pray and never lose hope. (Luke 18:1 ICB)

Moreover, we must maintain our faith by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and persistently extinguishing the doubt that surfaces in our hearts.

Persistent faith not only stems from saturating in God’s Word but also maintaining a healthy prayer life. And consequently submitting to His will and obeying God.

Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law. (Romans 3:31 NLT)

Persistent faith is activated by our confidence in God and our believing Him at His Word.

Why do we need persistent and active faith?

So, we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. (2 Thessalonians 1:11 NLT)

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the same God who loved His people fiercely, delivered them mightily, and performed miracles for them profoundly, and He wants to do the same for His people today. He wants us to fulfill our purposes and be His heart for a dying world in need of His unfailing love and life-giving Word. These times are perilous and hard to digest but we have a Savior that has overcome death, sin, and this world. The same power that raised Him from the grave lies within us and we have to have persistent and active faith. Our faith should be growing. Our hearts should be yielded to Him, trusting and depending on God.

ACTION:

  • Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus.
  • Maintain your belief in God’s promises.
  • Read God’s Word daily.
  • Develop a heart of repentance.
  • Walk in the authority of Jesus.
  • Don’t give up.

Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Is our trying to stay relevant conflicting with our following God?

Our world around us is always evolving and naturally every person should be evolving too. Our world has become a stage of technology and social media, machines and fast-paced living. We have the world at our fingertips and we have so many resources that aid us in being more productive and having access to more opportunities and immediate success. We are building brands, connecting with people all over the world via technology, and witnessing a plethora of platforms all the while trying to find and build our own.

Technology and social media have opened positive doors for people to have platforms, share their voices, start businesses with often times little to no cost, find and reach out to family and friends, spread the gospel and minister to people near and far. Yet, there are also negative aspects that have arisen with social media and technology. Human trafficking has been made easier with the click of a mouse. Our children are preyed on via the internet, evil views and suggestions can infiltrate the screens of our children, and jealousy, comparison and depression rise as social media platforms display manipulated, fake realities. Moreover, there are so many platforms and voices arising that it is hard to find your own or focus on God’s voice. So, let us be on guard and especially for our children.

As believers of Christ Jesus, using technology and social media, building brands, and making godly and positive impacts via the internet or in our every day lives are not wrong. In fact, let us use and do everything for the benefit of God and His kingdom. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

It is great to have such resources to be able to spread the gospel and connect with believers all over the world. To know that there are other believers still fighting the good fight of faith is encouraging. It is also great to exude the love and characteristics of the only wise God, who purposed us to be the light of the world, to a world that is full of pain and hopelessness.

Come near to God, and God will come near to you. You are sinners. So clean sin out of your lives. You are trying to follow God and the world at the same time. Make your thinking pure.
James 4:8 ICB
https://bible.com/bible/1359/jas.4.8.ICB

Nonetheless, some of us Christians are trying to make an impact without the presence and power of God. And some of us are so consumed with our own survival, being the hope of the nations is inconceivable when we are losing hope and not trusting in God and His sovereigness. And some of us are so busy building our brands that we have taken our eyes off of Christ and put them on ourselves. We are trying to build brands and stay relevant in a world where our worldly counterparts are getting the likes, attention, and success by keeping themselves out there and influencing the culture with their own narratives. As I was reading James 4:8, these questions came to mind for us believers.

Are we trying to moreso stay relevant or follow God? Is our following God being compromised by our building of brands and trying to stay relevant?

“Rather than being the light of the world and the salt of the earth–discipling their nation—the church has become ineffective and has lost its spiritual and moral authority in many nations around the world as we face increasing darkneas flooding the nations.” Prayer Altars: A strategy that is changing nations by Mark Daniels and John Mulinde

The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
John 15:19 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jhn.15.19.NLT

What we should be aiming towards is following Christ with undivided hearts that the Body of Christ here on Earth will once again as a whole become the type of relevance that God intended for us. We are to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. We are to be set apart and as our King, the hope of the nations. God intended for us to be in this world but not of this world.

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus for He is the author and finisher of our faith. While setting out to do what God called us to do, while tending to our work for the Lord, and while also building brands and connections, make sure these things do not take the place of Jesus. Let us utilize God’s grace, authority and build discipline to overcome distractions and press on towards running the race and fulfilling our destinies. Let’s make sure that we don’t fall into the trap of doing anything to stay relevant, nor derive our worth from others’ opinions, our successes, our connections, or our popularity. Our worth comes only from God and it cannot be equated to the world or anything it has to offer. It fact, God values and love us far greater than any riches in this world and His love for us is unmeasurable. Moreover, we cannot earn God’s love. It is freely given. As we follow Jesus and surrender every area of our lives to Him, we can make the impact that we need to, that pleases Him. And whether we are as relevant as a Kardashian, any well-known pastor or gospel singer, or not, better believe that when in alignment with God’s will and in His presence, Jesus will get the glory and His kingdom will shine. Remember, He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world.

What are your thoughts on “are we trying to stay moreso relevant or follow God” and “is our trying to stay relevant conflicting with our following God”?