Lead Where You Are–out of Your Deepening Intimacy with God
Jesus takes his disciples to a vineyard and refers to himself as “the true vine” and to his followers as “the branches.” In the midst of the descriptive narrative on the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus suddenly draws upon the vine and the branches to describe the spiritual intimacy, union, or connection he came to bring into their lives.
He makes it clear that he is out to make the disciples spiritually alive so that they will become spiritually productive. He reveals his goal, his method, and means of doing so. These shine a light on the way he works in our lives. Consider this:
The goal: producing fruit (“produce even more fruit,” v. 3) in our lives.
The method: staying connected to the “vine”, to Christ (“stay joined to me,” v. 4); God is removing “branches” in our lives that don’t “produce fruit” (v. 2a); and God is trimming the “branches” in our lives that do “produce fruit” so that they will produce “even more” (v. 2b).
The means: the words of Christ at work within us (“let my teachings become part of you,” v. 7).
Jesus's discourse on the vine and the branches not only calls followers of Christ to be connected to (i.e., “stay joined to”) him, but to do so by making sure we let his words get connected to us. He
calls us to something beyond simply reading. He doesn’t want us to just meditate on his Word; you might say he wants us to marinate in it! Scripture engagement means getting immersed in it and, as a result, it will change us.
Sadly, another temptation of leadership today is to live out of unsustainable sources of motivation, all the way from sheer adrenaline, being over-caffeinated, tracking it out on the ministry treadmill, to running on autopilot. It is clear that Christ wants us to obey him and live for him out of the motivation of relationship, intimacy, and love (cf. Luke 10:27). What’s more, he connects that intimacy to the place we choose to give his words in our lives.
Thought of the Day
Scripture engagement brings leaders closer to God.
What tends to fuel my service to God: adrenaline or intimacy? What Bible passage has strengthened my intimacy with God lately? How so? Am I practicing the presence of God in my personal life and leadership by meditating frequently on the words of Christ? Do I engage the privilege of staying joined to Jesus through his words?
Father, bring me more fully into your Word and your words more fully into me. Help me to find the life, strength, and motivation that come from engaging in your Word. I want to connect deeply with your truth and insight. Enrich my intimacy with you and let that experience change the way I live, love, and lead.