When we begin to believe in Christ, God brings us from being purposeless to purposeful. Suddenly, we have a destiny and a call beyond what the world has shown us. We are set free from sin and our flesh (our natural or carnal desires that compete with God) and called to great things: to advance His kingdom on earth in love, power and justice, to see our family and friends saved and delivered and to transform nations with His glory. In Matthew 28, Jesus tells His disciples:
Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matt 28:19, 20)
Jesus empowers us to change the world. As a result, we develop a great desire to bear fruit for Him. When I got saved in 1973, I was set on fire to see souls saved! I wanted to see others know the Jesus I knew and to experience the loving presence of the God that set me free. I did bear much fruit for Him, but after years of ministry I learned that the key to remaining in a place of fruitfulness is not a one-time encounter, but an ongoing relationship of intimacy with my heavenly Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit.
Intimacy will cost you time
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)
In John 15, Jesus gives us a beautiful analogy of abiding in Him, depending on Him and being literally rooted in Him: He is the vine and we are the branches. This is how we are to understand intimacy with Jesus: without encountering Him personally, we can do nothing of substance. He is the source of all fruitfulness.
After decades of ministry, I have learned that the presence of God is everything. In Harvest International Ministry (HIM), we say that the presence is not the “icing on the cake”- it is “the cake.” His presence is foundational to everything that we do to advance His kingdom on earth.
But getting into His presence will cost you time. It is a practical reality that in order to meet with God, you must make sacrifices to your normal schedule. You may have to set your alarm earlier, or carve time out of your busy schedule to meet with God. For me, this means getting into the Word, putting on soaking worship music and being still in His presence. Last week, I shared some practical tools to being continually filled with His Spirit. Every day when I wake up, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me afresh. I must encounter Him to minister to others and to walk in the power of God.
stay Connected to the vine
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
As believers in the Word of God, we are called to minister to others in the supernatural love and power of the Spirit, to encourage them with words from God, to see them healed of sickness and disease and to preach the Gospel in power. But some believers remain frustrated because they are not seeing the reality of this calling played out in their lives.
Evangelism, healing and prophecy through the power of the Spirit require that we know what the Father is doing and saying. In John 5, Jesus says to the Jews who challenge him,
Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does (John 5:19).
Jesus Himself said that He could do nothing apart from the Father. We must know what God is saying and doing in order to perform His will on earth. In many years of ministry, I have heard the voice of the Lord for many, and seen people healed of sickness and receive salvation, but only because I practice hearing God through being intimate with Him. I cannot know the right words of encouragement and love to say to an individual, a large crowd or a multitude of thousands without knowing what God is saying. There is no shortcut to being intimate with God and walking in His power. Fruitfulness comes through abiding in His presence and remaining connected to the vine.
Practical steps forward
If you want to develop a greater amount of intimacy with Jesus unto more abundant fruitfulness, I encourage you to set aside time every day to soak in His presence and His love. Remember and recount His character and His goodness and what He has done for you- His goodness and love will motivate you to seek His face. Nothing compares to the presence of God, and nothing can separate you from His mercy and His grace. If you need to, repent to Him before getting into His presence. He is waiting with open arms to receive you!
Here are some great resources to help you to develop intimacy with the Lord and to bear fruit for His glory.
- Catching God’s Heart is a compilation of teaching from different ministers and teachers- including myself- that will encourage you to seek intimacy with your heavenly Father so that you can know Him more!
- I am passionate about evangelism! My book Fire Evangelism shares some practical tools and insights to bearing fruit for the Lord in seeing salvation.
- The Passion Translation of the Gospel of John will give you even richer insight into the disciple Jesus called “beloved”.