One of my favorite times of the year is the summer. Summer speaks fun and enjoyment to me. In fact, many have their summer calendars already filled with places to travel and people to see. I think one of my favorite things to do in the summer is to go to the farmer’s market to get fresh produce. Oh, how I love fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. As I was reflecting upon summer and the things I so love, I was reminded of the importance of abiding in God’s Word. Just as I enjoy eating fresh fruit, God desires for us to be continuously producing fruit within our lives and it can be done by one way – abiding in Him.
One of the quickest ways to hinder our walk with God and cause spiritual dryness is to allow our schedules to become filled with busyness. Busyness can have us running from one place to another, and before we know it, we are completely depleted of strength. Busyness causes us to shift our priorities. We are focused on the trivial things of life versus what is more important – like the need to spend quality time with God or spending time with our loved ones. Busyness causes us to become distracted and consumed. It can rob us of our joy, hope, and peace and infiltrate our spirits with stress, frustrations, and anxiety. Bottom line – busyness depletes.
God desires for us to stay guarded against busyness. He knows how destructive it can be to our lives, relationships with Him, and with others. One of the ways of staying guarded against busyness is by abiding in His Word. This had me reflecting upon God’s Word in John 1:4 which says, “Remain in me, and I will 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.”
There are some great concepts God desires for us to draw upon in these Scriptures. First is the importance of staying connected to God. It shouldn’t matter the season we are in; our connection to God should be our number one priority. We are to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, minds, soul and strength. When we make Him a priority and stay connected to Him, He keeps us rooted to Him, and His love abides within us giving us sure foundation to build upon.
Secondly, staying connected to God brings forth life within our beings. Scripture states, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.” We must realize that apart from Him there is no life. Just as a vine sustains the branch with its proper nutrients, giving it stability, nourishment, and life, God desires for us to realize it is the same with Him.
When we are not connected to the Vine, we are not receiving the proper nutrients. God desires for us to be effective. To be effective, we must be willing to reevaluate our schedules and prioritize. Speaking from past experiences, I can become consumed in “doing” God’s work for Him, but I’m not spending the quality time I need with Him. There is a difference. I call it the “Martha Syndrome.” Yes, God desires for us to be used by Him for His Kingdom purposes, but if our “doing” interferes with our being with Him, He’ll opt every time for the latter.
Lastly, our abiding in Him will produce fruit. He longs for us to produce fruit to those around us. The fruit of His Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. God wants us to exercise self-control concerning our time. Time is truly the most valuable gift you can ever have. Once it is gone, you can never get it back. When we exercise self-control to guard our time, our priorities remain intact protecting us from the tactics of busyness.
So as we kick off summer, here are some quick tips to stay connected to the Vine:
– Spend quality time in God’s Word every day.
– Remember, His Word is alive and active.
– Don’t short change God. He knows your schedule before you do and realizes the obligations you are facing for the day.
– No matter how much time you spend with Him, give Him your full attention in your time together.
– Keep the praise and worship music playing. Our minds will stay steadfast upon Him when we lift Him up in praise.
Take time to rest. Personally, I struggle with this, but I am learning. God doesn’t want you or me striving, doing, and busy all the time. We need to rest. Rest causes our whole beings to be replenished. He longs to produce His fruit within your lives. He doesn’t want you depleted. He wants you strong, vibrant, and flourishing.