A fruitful life should be the ordinary for every Christian. Jesus has promised the Spirit – his very own spirit – to inhabit us. In some mysterious way that means his presence, his thoughts, his actions are prompting and empowering us. We just have to learn something about allowing that to happen. It can be said a number of different ways. We need to quiet ourselves and go with the impressions or nudges we sense. We need to get out of the way. We need to move over to the co-pilot’s seat. Whatever works for you. I’ve used these and many others.
Just this morning I was having one of my ragey prayer times with God. I am at times an impatient sort when it comes to prayer. I know better, but Jesus did mention that heaven is enamored with childlikeness, so I try to play the part. (That was sarcasm for you literalists out there). Anyway, as I waxed on, making one great point after another, I mumbled out, “Just once, I would like you to answer a prayer RIGHT NOW.” At that very moment my phone dinged. It was eerie and humorous at the same time. I smiled and wondered if God had sent me a text. As I reached for the phone I said, “If this is some message from you I’ll jump right on it.” It seemed to be the case.
The ding was a message from a ministry that specializes in working with various persecuted Christian groups around the world. They had just worked out contacts with an underground church in a dictatorial country that has been in the news quite a lot lately. Christians there are routinely enslaved or executed. I’ve always admired the work that this ministry performs. As far as I can recall they’ve never asked for a dime, although a dime I would gladly give. The message from them (and God) was simple: Write an encouraging note to believers in this closed country. Let them know that you’re praying for them and such. I did. I then asked a number of others if they would consider doing the same.
This is fruit as well – doing something the Lord prompts us to do. It is a good work. Paul conflates good works with fruit-bearing in his letter to the Colossians: “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work…”Colossians 1:9,10 There you have it. And once more, as I typed out this note to unseen Christians a world away, I was reminded of Jesus’ words about his kingdom and the way things work. I presented heaven with a list of stuff. The Lord reminded me that I’m to seek first, above all else, his kingdom. When that bit is being attended to – when I learn to care about the things he cares about – then everything else that has me worked up will either fall into place or simply fall away.