By this definition, was Jesus successful? He never married or had a family; from what we know, he did not own a home or have any possessions; he had no career; and he died at the young age of 33. So was He a failure?
Christ has a lasting impact on history, on the world, and on our eternal destiny. I don’t think any of us would say that He failed. So, if Jesus was a success, then we as Christians need a new definition of success.
So how do you become successful under this definition? How do you produce fruit? The answer is simple, abide.
1. Abide in the Vine - Remember, you are just a branch, so draw your life source from Christ. Cultivate a vital connection to your Heavenly Father. Make Christ the source of your identity; the source of your significance, security and confidence.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” John 15: 4-5
2. Abide in His Love and obey His Word - Jesus says to abide in His love. He models how to do this by abiding in His Father's love and by keeping God’s commandments. So follow Christ’s example, know God’s Word and obey His commandments.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you” John 15:7
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in my love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love…These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:10
3. Abide in His Body – The body of Christ is His church. Love one another to love and abide in Christ. Christ set the ultimate example of this when he lay down his life for us.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12
4. Abide in His Spirit - After Christ’s death and resurrection, He sent the Holy Spirit to his followers. Abide in His Spirit, because ultimately this is our source of power. We can bear witness, but only the Holy Spirit can produce results, the production of fruit.
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me, and you will bear witness also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15: 26-27
Are you thriving? A sign of a thriving, successful life is fruit that remains. Christ says, “…you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” (John 15: 16). If you want to be successful, start by abiding in Christ, grow fruit and then engage the world for Christ by the power of His Spirit.