It is as we are grafted into Christ—accepting him as Lord and Savior—that we are cleansed through the sacrifice of Christ-from dormancy to dramatic harvest, through:
Conformity to Christ (John 15:9-11) 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
You can hear Christ revealing a harvest of the Spirit in and through us but not from us. Yet, so many people are spending their lives drunk searching for the next shot of happiness, while dangerous low on joy-needing life to be perfect to feel the presence of God. Somehow, we have fallen into a trap of thinking that just identifying with a church is enough, or just claiming Christ on Facebook is the goal, when all along God offers us an identity in Him rather than just asking us to identify with Him. Jesus has in store a transcendent change for us—in Verse 11. Happiness is fragile, joy is fruitful.Sometimes, it is only when we find the world less than happy, our circumstances less than hitting the lottery, that we allow ourselves to open up to the possibility of true joy. God in fact has always built his kingdom in the midst of our chaos, doubt, and uncertainty. Take for example Javad. Breakpoint Commentaries shared that Javad was a “Muslim from Iran, Javad didn’t know nay Christians and didn’t own a Bible…Then in 2008 he migrated to Athens, running from ISIS and Syria and it was from a refugee camp—that a friend asked him to go to a church. Javad had never heard of such a thing and, curious he went. There in a small unremarkable rented room, he heard the gospel and gladly received Christ. Now Javad is sharing the Jesus he met” in the madness with those he encounters at a refugee center, park, or coffee shop. In the last eight years he said more than 2,000 Muslims at the center have turned to Jesus in the last eight years and like in the book of Acts, these refugees are leaving the camp and going out into the world, producing fruit! As one convert put it, “In Islam, we always lived in fear, Fear God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. But Christ is a God of love.”
As we seek to be conformed into the Image of Christ—to produce fruit supernaturally through his Spirit, we find the power to rejoice through all things and be an opening to Christ through anything. Some of you have been through horrible things- yet God offers to work the bad for good in a Great Exchange…(Romans 5)- 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. It is when we embrace God’s supernatural leading that we can be led to do things we would never do on our own…Things which are out of the ordinary, maybe that would make us a little funky or different—but why wouldn’t we be different when we have been pressed into the image of Christ.
What’s crazy is that conformity to Christ doesn’t mean we all look the same, but it means we are united through the same joy and impactful for the same Jesus. The results in many ways is the happy ending the many are looking for, paying for through self-help books or seminars, trying to find through numerous ways of life, and all along is waiting through family. Maybe like Davion Navar Henry Only you never found a place you fit—but when he sought a family—what he found was the answered prayer. His former caseworker Connie Going decided he wasn’t just another case, but was going to be her son. What you’ll find in Christ as you live unlike others is that you are an orphan no more. You are a son or a daughter; you are a steward who has the chance to welcome others into the same home that helped you.