1397. Let the River Flow

Rivers of living water will flow through Jesus’ followers if we don’t dam them up with our own “usefulness.”

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

We Get way to hung up on “successful service.” We find satisfaction in the apparent results of our labors when we should be finding it in Christ Himself. His disciples had the same problem. When the 70 were excited that even the demons were subject to them, He chided them (Luke 10:17-20). He wanted their joy to be the same as His, and His greatest joy came simply from doing the will of His Father. What He did and how things turned out were incidental. His singlemindedness resulted from His intimate relationship with His Father. His simple obedience brought Him great joy.

Rivers of Living Water

He wanted the same to be true for His disciples and He wants the same for us today. If our relationship with Christ is the same as He has with the Father, then rivers of living water will flow through us on a regular basis, because Christ, the living water, will be living His live through us. Looking at the “results” of our service is like focusing on the shadows instead of the real thing, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

In Him

In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form. In Him we have been made complete. All this, and so much more, are the results of our relationship with Christ our Lord, not in our “successful service.” Only those things done in the Spirit are worth anything, and Christ is the one doing the work through us. All our pleas for God to use us are misguided. It’s the work that Jesus does through us that bears lasting fruit, not what we do for God.

Jesus’ joy came from absolute surrender and self-sacrifice, not from how many converts He had gathered. He knew He was always in the center of His Father’s will because He only did what He saw the Father already doing (John 5:19). Likewise, we can know our efforts will “succeed” if we have reckoned ourselves crucified with Christ and raised to newness of life –Christ’s life.

AS I SEE IT

Wherever we find ourselves, we can take comfort in the assurance that we have been placed there by God so we will allow Christ in us to fulfill His mission through us. Since we usually have no idea what that mission is, all we can (and should) do is empty ourselves and offer ourselves to Christ as a willing bondservant. As such, we simply follow His lead as He works through us.

The exhortation here is to stop focusing on being used by God so we can glory in the results of our “successful service.” If we are rightly related to Christ, His work in us will simply happen, and we may not even be aware of it. A river goes where it chooses, and the rivers of living water emanating from Christ in us will likewise go where they will. We are to make sure we aren’t damming up the river with our usefulness.

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