Wednesday, November 15
According to John 15 there are two results of abiding in Christ, persecution and fruit. If you’re a serious follower of Christ you will be vitally interested in bearing fruit. Most likely, you would be glad to avoid the persecution. But they go together. Jesus made it clear in that upper room discourse before his crucifixion that if we are busy about the Father’s business as Jesus was, we will be hated by the world and we will suffer. We can, of course, understand Jesus’ words to apply to that particular situation, his disciples facing both antagonistic Jews and the Roman Empire because of Christ. Their task to lead the fledgling Church was monumental, and would put them in jeopardy of their lives. In fact, some of them did lose their lives, although John was spared and lived to a ripe old age, albeit being held captive on the Isle of Patmos. So the reality is that some of us will face terrible persecution and some of us won’t, but all of us need to be ready to follow Christ even unto death. The history of the Church not only verifies that, but teaches us that persecution brings about more church growth than peace and prosperity does. Our world is no different than the centuries preceding us. People are dying for the faith in many places, while others are free from that level of persecution. With or without persecution, we need to bear fruit, and that means “abiding” in Christ. I’ve heard this phrase often in the sports world: “What have you done lately?” I’m not meddling; I’m just stirring the pot.