My family is in a season of fruitfulness that quite honestly feels almost too good to be true. In seasons of fruitfulness, I think it’s important for us to reflect on how spiritual fruit is produced, so that we don’t take for granted the blessings we receive.
What’s infinitely more important than the fruit on any given tree is the root structure and overall health of the tree itself. Fruit is wonderful, but it can only be produced when everything that’s supporting it is doing it’s respective job. It’s the same in our lives. God wants spiritual fruit and blessing to manifest in our lives, but there’s a process that we must engage in if we want to see this happen.
You see, God is far more interested in who you’re becoming than what you’re physically doing.
Don’t get me wrong, these two things have a symbiotic relationship, but our culture is infinitely more fascinated by external success than by internal growth. The ironic and unfortunate reality however, is that you cannot have true external success without significant internal transformation.
Internal growth is an ongoing process, and it is not a passive one. Not only is it not passive, but it’s also not formulaic. There is no magic lamp to rub and no genie in a bottle to summon. I think God made it this way because he desires relationship with us and if we could get it all done without engaging Him in relationship, we probably would.
God is the only treasure that is worth pursuing, and it’s only as we seek him and prioritize our relationship with him that life will begin to make sense. My heart on this is not that you simply read your Bible and pray, because divorced from a real connection to God, these also can be rote acts of religion.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is this:
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
God is speaking here, and He is simultaneously encouraging us and challenging us. Now, I don’t know that any of us ever truly seek God with all our hearts, but that’s not really the point. This isn’t a standard of perfection to discourage us, but rather a heart principle that can help orient us.
We were designed to have a growing and intimate relationship with our Creator and while that is a simple concept to write about, it is an easy one to forget. I don’t want my life to just be about achievement, accomplishment, or accolades, but I can so easily allow my relationship with God to take a backseat to more seemingly exciting pursuits. I’m sure that most, if not all of you can relate with me on that. So, what do we do about it? How do we prioritize our relationship with God? How do we stay on a path of ongoing internal growth that will eventually yield the kind of spiritual fruit that we were designed to produce? I’m glad you asked!
Spend daily quality time with your Creator. I know that probably seems overly simplistic, but it’s much easier said than done. What does quality time look like? I think it can look like a lot of things, but I can tell you what it doesn’t look like. It doesn’t look like box-checking and going through the motions of having a “quiet time.” It doesn’t look like rushing through a few compulsory exercises to start the day without guilt. It doesn’t look like reading a few verses just so you have something to preach about or so that you can post it to social media. Quality time with God should be engaged in simply for the sake of getting to know him more. It looks like reading the Bible and praying, so that you can hear the Father’s heart and connect with him. It looks like journaling your thoughts and prayers, so that you can vocalize and put words to your deepest struggles and successes. It just looks like going after him with an intensity that says, “You have called me to come to you and you have made yourself available to me. I will not stop, and I will not give up until I’ve connected with you and heard your heart for me.”
Personally, I don’t trust authors or speakers that make this sound ritualistic or formulaic. This is a journey and it is a lifelong pursuit, but this is the bread and butter of Christianity. This is the core and everything else pales in comparison. Without a growing and ongoing relationship with God, Christianity is a hollow shell. Without relationship, it becomes just rules and standards and church activities that are a shadow of something real.
So let me ask you, how is your relationship with God? What’s one thing you can do to move closer to him today? He loves you more than you could ever know and he’s pursuing you relentlessly. Take some time today to meditate on his love for you and watch as your heart gradually inclines more towards him.
Chris Russo is the a campus pastor at Seacoast Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Read more devotions and catch his latest YouTube videos at his website!