Jesus is looking for faithful partners. Those who will do the only work of God that we can do, which is to “believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:28-29). As I pointed out last time, everything not originating from this place of rest, God calls disobedience and dead works. Why is this so? Because if we want to follow Jesus, we must actually follow Him, not create our own agendas and call it serving Him.
Paul tells us this about faithfully partnering with Christ:
9 So whether we live or die we make it our life’s passion to live our lives pleasing to him.10 For one day we will all be openly revealed before Christ on his throne so that each of us will be duly recompensed for our actions done in life,whether good or worthless. (2 Cor.5:9-10 TPT*)
It’s interesting that “pleasing to Him” actually means to live in full agreement with Him. We faithfully partner with God by taking Him at His word, which includes surrendering our right to initiate anything for Him.
All our service for Jesus will be judged on the basis of whether its source came from abiding in Him or done apart from this life-union. The former will be judged to be good, the latter will be rendered worthless.
Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with our status with God as His sons and daughters; we’re “already clean” (John 15:3); it has to do with whether or not what we do for Him has any eternal value.
This is a foundational truth: everything in God can only be received. There’s nothing we can rightfully initiate. I say this confessing that I’ve initiated my own thing many times! I can run myself right into the ground doing things for Christ that He never told me to do. Like the child trying to help his dad wash the car, spreading mud all over what God has been making clean.
We see this in the famous story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Ironically, Martha was totally distracted from Jesus because she was trying to serve Him. This is a lot like us. We want to serve Jesus without finding out what He actually wants from us.
Nonetheless, Jesus loves the Martha’s just as much as He does the Mary’s in this world. It’s just that the Martha’s will probably burn themselves down from the constant frustration and striving. But Mary found the “one thing most important”—that sitting at Jesus’ feet is the only place where we’ll ever learn to be effective in serving Him faithfully.
Our root problem is we don’t follow instructions very well.
I remember one time getting off of a small commuter prop-driven plane, being told we shouldn’t walk under the wing where the propeller is (for obvious reasons), only to watch several people do this very thing! I wish I could say this was not normal human behavior. We don’t seem to be good at following Jesus’ directions either. We want to serve Him on our own terms.
But, as we saw in “Everything Starts with Rest,” Jesus tells us that we can do nothing that has any meaningful value apart from abiding in Him. But when we do, He’ll give us whatever we ask because we’re doing so from a sacred place in His heart.
4 So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine. (John 15:4 TPT*)
7 But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. 8 When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father! (John 15:7-8 TPT*)
We do this by first receiving His infinite love for us, and by remaining in this place of union with Him, and letting His love overflow from us unto others. This crucible of love is the impetus for all work done “in Jesus’ name” (not because we added His name at the end of our prayers!) This is how we faithfully serve Him:
9 “I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. 10 If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. 11 My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!
12 “So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. (John 15:9-12 TPT*)
This life-union in His love is the incubator for growing sons and daughters after God’s own heart who walk in the likeness of Christ.
There’s probably no person who’s been more effective for Christ in our lifetime than Heidi Baker, and she said something that should encourage us to do it His way:
“One minute of God’s presence can accomplish more than 20 years of your striving.”