One of the major lessons that I’ve learned in the year I have been writing grant applications is that this line of work is a continuous cycle of research and writing/submitting applications.
The more I research the more grant applications I submit and therefore the more funding the agency receives.
Grant research is not always easy though. Sometimes you get stuck and can only search for funding so many different ways until you completely run out of options.
But I do it nonetheless because if I stop researching then I won’t produce any results and therefore grow stagnant in my profession.
1 Thessalonians 4 encourages us to continue on with the good already instilled in us; to do more and more of what good we have been and are currently doing.
…brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more…(vs. 1 and 10).
Do so more and more…
That sounds exhausting.
I struggle with growing idle in my faith because I often take on the ‘diet’ mentality – I do good one day so I relax in my efforts the next and eventually this cycle turns into a ‘one-step-forward-two-steps-back’ routine, ultimately cultivating a complacent heart.
This is the exact mentality that Paul warns us against, encouraging us to combat these complacent behaviors by way of continuous growth and continuous development in our faith.
John 15:4 explains that in order for us to produce; in order for us to avoid complacency, we must remain firmly attached and grounded in Jesus Christ. We are stagnant and dying only when apart from Him. It is when we remain in Him and in His Word that we grow in faith, produce fruit, and continue to do so more and more.
However, if we fail to remain in Christ as John 15:4 instructs us to, we eventually forget where our true ability to produce fruit comes from.
Take Deuteronomy 8:10-18 for example.
Verse 18 sums up this passage by instructing us to remember the Lord our God, for it is he who gives us the ability to produce, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to our ancestors, as it is today.
It is only in and through and for Jesus Christ our Lord that we produce fruit.
However, it is in pride that the wicked man does not seek him [Jesus]; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. – Psalm 10:4
A complacent heart is rooted in pride. When we start believing it is from our own doing that we can produce any kind of spiritual fruit we will eventually grow stagnant because we detach ourselves from the only true source of Life.
When there is no room for God there is no room for growth nor is there room for a spirit that does good and continues to do so more and more.
Jeremiah 10:21 says that the shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the Lord; so they do not prosper and all their flocks are scattered.
Tying in directly with John 15:4, when we are not inquiring of the Lord; if we are not rooting our lives in Him, we become senseless in our pursuits and do not prosper in our actions.
I’m learning this very lesson today as I continue growing in my writing.
In order for me to produce any kind of Godly wisdom or understanding, I must first remain completely dependent on Christ and the only way to do that is to eliminate any trace of pride that I may have in connection with my writing.
If I am at all prideful in my work, it won’t be very long before I begin relying on my own abilities, forgetting to inquire of the Lord and therefore growing complacent in my faith.
If our work is not done in and through and for Jesus Christ, then it is void of divine impact and everlasting hope.
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. – John 15:4
Only in connection to the Lord our God are we able to produce any kind of good work and it is only by continuous growth in Him that we are able to do so more and more.