Be a Fruitful Person in a World Full of Successful, Excellent and Significant People

6:07:00 AM


***Sharing with you my notes from the devotion of Pastor Jonathan Fenix on fruitfulness during the Advaced Leadership Training of Agape.

We always hear from our parents and relatives that we should study and work hard in order for us to be successful. We all want SUCCESS. But do we really know what it looks like? Some people looks successful for others but they still feel they are not successful.

Some people say that it is not about success, we need to go after EXCELLENCE. There is a challenge for us Christians to be the most excellent people in the world because we are followers of an excellent God. But there is great danger of being discontented if we focus too much on excellence. When you are already up there and see people in a higher position than where you are, it makes you feel you're not there. Comparison starts to rob you of joy and fulfillment. 

For most millennial, it's not about success and excellence, our battle cry is SIGNIFICANCE. There are three things that make millennial feel miserable in their job.

  1. Anonymity. Nobody notices you're there. When you take a leave, no one notices.
  1. Lack of personal growth and development.
  1. Insignificance. If you feel that your job does not make an impact. It does not make any difference.

We want to be significant. We want to leave a mark here on Earth. But significance can be too much about ourselves. In the Bible, the focus is not more on success, excellence and significance. This does not mean we should not strive hard to be successful, excellent and significant. These are good things to have in life but what we should focus on is FRUITFULNESS. The thing is a lot of us do not know what fruitfulness is. Let me clarify that activity is not synonymous to fruitfulness. Just because you do a lot of things does not mean you are already fruitful.

A fruitful person fulfills God's will by reproducing God's goodness in his life under all circumstances while growing in his intimacy with God and always being thankfully joyful for His salvation.

Fulfills God's will
In Colossians 1:9-14, Paul prayed for fruitfulness of the believers. This prayer applies to all of us. Paul asked God to fill us with the knowledge of God's will. Paul wants us to have a fuller understanding of the will of God. We need this in order to be fruitful. But even though we already know the will of God, we still ask God about things that we can get away with. We like to bargain and haggle with the Lord. Most of the time we really know what God's will is so instead of praying for God's will, ask for obedience. Obedience with the will and plan of God. Our job as followers of God is to seek after God's pleasure and to live a life worthy of the Lord. 

A lot of people want to know the will of God in order to be successful, excellent and significant but not to please God. God is not selfish in requiring us to always seek for His pleasure. He is simply the most valuable in the whole universe. And it's not wrong for Him to be God-centered. If your objective in life is to please yourself, you may be successful, excellent and significant but you will never be fulfilled.

Reproducing God's goodness in his life
We should bear fruit in every good work. God's goodness is so real in our life that it manifests outward and benefit others. There are people who when you spend time with them, they add value to your life. You become more encouraged and things become better. But there are people who are excellent, they give you knowledge but do not seem to add value to your life.

Growing in his intimacy with God
We should strive to grow in the knowledge of God. We should aim for intimacy with the One true God. The Lord is not a distant, far-off deity that we just worship. He is a personal God who knows every one of us even before we were conceived in our mother's womb. We can have a personal relationship with Him. 

You can know the Bible but still not know God. This reminded me of Dr. Bart Ehrman who graduate with PhD in Princeton Theological Seminary magna cum laude. He is one the most acclaimed experts in New Testament Theology. But most of his publication were of textual criticisms of the New Testament. He is only interested in studying those events that “do not require faith in order to know about them”. I hope that we don't just know God but experience Him and have personal relationship with Him.

Always being thankfully joyful for His salvation
We need to be thankfully joyful because Christ saved us from eternal death. His death and resurrection accomplished the forgiveness of our sins and allowed us to receive His gift of eternal life. This is the speaker's favorite symbolism for God's salvation. We are all citizens of a kingdom with an oppressive king. God saved us from slavery and granted us citizenship in His kingdom. By tradition, when another king saved you from oppression, you will become a slave to that king. He did not let us become slaves but instead made us citizens of His kingdom in heaven

Conclusion
A group of sociologists changed the behavior of kids without threatening or bribing them. In a class of children, the sociologists set up two tables for snack time, one table containing candies and chocolates and the other table containing apples. The sociologists want the children to choose apples without withholding options, without bribing, without giving them lectures on the ill effects of candies and chocolates. During the first day, the children flocked towards the table with candies and chocolates. The next day, they put Batman cut-out eating apples on the other table. Surprisingly, significant number of children gravitate to the table with apples and started eating the fruit. When the sociologists asked the children why they picked the table with apples, one of the most popular answers is "If Batman can eat apples, I can also eat apples". Because Batman is one of the most popular and favorite superheroes, it influenced the kids to do the things he did. In the same breath however Jesus lived a fruitful life that is pleasing to the Lord. Wouldn't you also do it simply because Jesus did it?

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