Are you genuinely effective for Jesus? Have you made yourself available to be used for His purposes as He desires? I’m not asking if you’re active in your local church or if you have a ministry, but whether you, like Mary, have personally prepared yourself to be usable by our Master–because these are NOT the same. The truth is that we can be like Martha–highly active with duties and ministries–but be woefully disconnected with Jesus Himself, rendering ourselves effectively useless for the kingdom.
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches…without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:3-5)
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have the tendency to fly past some of God’s Word and not really get it. Take these verses–on one level, I hear what Jesus is saying about not being able to do anything unless I remain in Him, but on another, do I–really? Yet I must get it, because Jesus is telling the truth. These words are not fluff, uttered for no particular purpose as so much today is: they are key to Christian effectiveness!
God has revealed Himself to us in Christ Jesus. You see, the Bible is the written revelation (Word) of God, while Jesus is the physical revelation (Word) of God–but both are the Logos (“intelligence; a word as the expression of that intelligence“) of God. Remember how John calls Jesus the Word (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh…” John 1)?The eternal and incomprehensible God revealed Himself to us through Jesus, just as He reveals Himself through the Bible.
When we read the Word of God, the Bible, it’s like looking in a mirror that reflects God to us; we are being transformed from glory to glory—from God’s glory to His glory in us–like Moses, whose face shone after he was with God: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror [of His Word] the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from [His] glory to [His] glory [in us], just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Corinthians 3:18 NKJV) In the very same way, our spirits reflect God after we’ve spent time with Him in His Word.
This is why Jesus commanded those of us who follow Him to “remain in Me and I in you, for without Me you can do nothing,” and how true this is! We may imagine we are being effective, but unless we have spent time with Him we are trying to do God’s work with human tools, and it can’t be done–without the power and work of the Spirit of Christ in us, God’s work will not be accomplished.
We need to spend enough time in the Word. Furthermore, as James points out, we need to actually do what it says—otherwise, we walk away from the mirror of God’s revelation and forget what we look like—who we are in Christ. “But,” we are told, “whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom [God’s Word], and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:25 NIV)
It is because our mind is so distinctly humanly fragile that Jesus tells us to remain in Him and His Word in us. He recognizes that we cannot take in a week’s worth of the Word in one sitting and then starve ourselves the remaining six days any more than we can consume a week’s worth of food in one sitting and fast the remaining six. It just doesn’t work that way!
Because of this, those who are most effective for Christ are those who remain in Him most–who keep looking at the “perfect law that gives freedom:” who read and meditate on His Word frequently throughout the day as they are able; who fellowship with Him intimately in heartfelt and genuine–not compulsory or brief–prayer throughout their day.
Think of someone you’ve met who radiates Jesus and is is genuinely effective for His kingdom and useful to the Master. I guarantee you this is someone who has “been with Jesus”–who is purposefully and actively remaining in Him through prayer and meditation on the Word!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Help me remain in You, because without You I can do nothing (for You that is eternally effective)! Amen.