Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Choice That God Makes

Back in the fall of my junior year at Central Michigan I was still fairly new in my walk with the Lord and went through a bit of, shall we say, growing pains. I had gotten involved with Campus Crusade midway through my sophomore year and learned a lot about what it meant to live as a Christian and to be involved in telling others about Christ.

But that fall I entered into a dating relationship that probably wasn't the best for me. Although my intentions were pure at the time, the women I was dating was much older than me and there were some circumstances surrounding the relationship that I should have taken into account before it got to that level.

Because of this relationship (which I had hidden from even my closest friends), my involvement in our ministry lessened as I spent more and more time with this woman. Eventually my Bible study leader asked me what was going on in my life and why he hadn't seen me around as much as he had before. I evaded questions, got defensive and avoided conversations involving my personal life. Essentially, I was hiding out in order to do what I wanted to do.

One day the campus minister that was working with our group was talking to me about my involvement in the ministry and, out of concern for me, asked about why I hadn't been around as much. I responded to something of the effect that my personal time was my personal time and that if people kept bugging me about it, that I might just stop being involved altogether. (I knew that there was a lack of male leadership and that I was being counted on as an up and coming leader. I figured my "threat" would cause them to back off.)

Scott, the staff member that I was having this conversation with, said something along these lines:
"Scott, I would be disappointed if you were to stop being involved with Campus Crusade on this campus. But I do know this: that if God wants to move here, and I think he does, then He will do it with or without Scott Crocker. The choice you have to make it is whether you want to stay and be part of something special or look on from the outside full of regrets that you could have been part of it but chose not to."
It was exactly what I needed to hear. Shortly thereafter God very clearly spoke to me and I broke off the relationship I was in. I stepped up my involvement in our ministry, went on a summer missions trip and got to be part of something neat as I saw God work in dramatic ways in the lives of my classmates and those that came after us.

In John 15 Jesus had this to say:
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.
It wasn't my involvement in Campus Crusade that dictated whether I would see fruit produced in my life. God still could have used me in other ways. But at that time my heart wasn't fully His and that was reflected in some of the choices I had made. But that ministry was (and still is) a vehicle in which God has chosen to bear fruit through me as I live according to His will. Ultimately, it wasn't about the choice that I was making. Rather it was whether I was going to follow the choice that God had made in placing me at a specific place at a certain time so that He would be glorified through my life.

Whenever I've chosen to abide in Him, the fruit has been produced. When I've failed to do so there has only been barren branches. Abiding in Christ is not a one-time or yearly decision. Each day I need to decide whether I will remain in His will and yield to His Spirit so that spiritual fruit will be produced in my life. Are you abiding in Him today?

No comments: