Expecting Results

a branch cannot bear fruit by itself

Some of you may not know this, but my day job is designing websites for small businesses. I get to work with my parents in our family-owned marketing business, and it can be really rewarding at times when we get to love people well and help them thrive in their work.

Bear with me as I draw this back to Jesus…

Because of my background in marketing, I know the typical recommendations for using social media and email lists and websites to increase sales. I often make excuses rather than applying that knowledge to this side business of mine because it’s easier not to put in the work.

I was getting ready for bed last night and thinking through possible ways to share my greeting cards with people so I don’t end up with a pile of them after the holiday season this year. I wished sales would just happen without having to post consistently all year to build up a following. Then, something dawned on me.

I’m expecting results without putting in the work.

People buy when they trust you and know you provide them with good information or nice free things. If I don’t give away helpful stuff throughout the year and then announce a product out of the blue, the odds are low that people will purchase that new product.

Here’s where things got real.

The same is true with Jesus.

When we go every day without pursuing Him, without giving Him all we are, without loving Him and others, we have no good reason to expect to be close to Him.

I deeply long for a close relationship with Christ, but I am rarely diligent in setting aside prayer time.
I wholeheartedly want to align my heart to His, but I forget to ask.
I want to see the world changed through the Holy Spirit’s work in my, yet I choose to waste my energy worrying instead of praising Him.

Do you see the pattern?

Whether it’s my business or my faith, I need to put in the work, the energy, the heart, to actually see results.

Yes, grace covers a multitude of sins, but it can’t provide that day-to-day intimacy you get from spending every moment for and with Jesus. James made a good point that faith without works is dead. In addition, Jesus plainly stated this principle, “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself…neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

John 15:4

So, it’s time I got on my knees and interceded for the people I minister to at church.It’s time I fell on my face in gratitude for all God has provided me.It’s time I lift up my hands in praise and wonder at the fact that He sees me as immeasurably valuable—worth dying for.

Here’s the tough question: Are you with me?
Or are you going to expect results without putting in the work?

“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

James‬ ‭2:26‬