“A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns. No one is established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never be moved … Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers, but the root of the righteous bears fruit.”
Our relationship with God is the foundation for everything in life. God is the source of our identity and purpose. He created us, calls us to himself, and sends us into the world as agents of his kingdom. We are not defined by our circumstances, nor by our job, nor by our possessions or position in society. We are defined by who we are in Christ.
In order to bear fruit that lasts, we must be in right relationship to the Lord who created and calls us. This is precisely what Jesus teaches in John 15. He is the vine, and we are the branches. In order to bear fruit, we must live and abide in him.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
To “abide” means to be fully connected and fully engaged. The Greek word means to make a place your home and to live there. Note that Jesus says we must abide in him, and he must abide in us. In other words, with respect to abiding, there are two decisions we must make: 1) Make the decision to live your life fully in Christ and his kingdom; and 2) Make the decision to allow Jesus to make his home within you. Allow Jesus to live and rule in you and through you.
Abiding in Christ means trusting Jesus for salvation and for every aspect of your life. The picture of the vine and the branches illustrates the supernatural union that exists between Christians and the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine; neither can we bear fruit unless we abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ means making him Lord of everything you do ... at home, at work, in the church, and in the community.
Again, Jesus is the root of the righteous, and we are called to build our lives on the foundation of who he is, what he has done, and what he is doing in and through us. Paul spoke to this truth in 1 Corinthians:
“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3.10-11)
Jesus is the foundation -- the only foundation -- for true life. Any other foundation is a counterfeit. A fake. A poor imitation. This is what Proverbs 12.2 says: “No one established by wickedness …“. A life lived apart from God’s standards provides no anchor.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul follows up with an admonition for us to be faithful and disciplined about how we build upon the foundation of Christ in our life. His words are at once both sobering and motivating:
“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)
Trust God, do the work, and build faithfully upon the foundation of Christ in your life.