January 26 – Best Year Yet – It Only Goes Up from Here!

Read John 15:1-17

“Best Year Yet”…that is the title we have assigned to this devotional series. By now, you should understand what we don’t mean by those three words. We aren’t trying to suggest that 2019 can be free from pain, disappointments, difficulty, and tension. I can assure you that this year will include all of those. Only a future eternity with Christ will be void of those current realities here.

These “Best Year Yet” readings have, instead, tried to recognize the disappointing realities of life while offering important biblical insights. These insights may not change what you experience, but they will impact how you respond. In that regard, 2019 can be the “best year yet” because you are different. And 2020 could be even better yet. The truth is that life could, potentially, only get better from here, because you are choosing to pursue the right things and respond the right way.

In John 15, Jesus offers you some insight into this “fruitful life” that we are talking about. In fact, He even described fruit bearing as part of His very purpose in selecting His followers (v. 16). When you remain in Him, you position yourself to bear fruit.

That last sentence merits further description. It begs the definition of “remaining in Him” and “fruit bearing.” What is it to “remain in Christ”? The context helps us. “Remaining in Christ” is to live life intentionally aware of and in submission to His authority and leadership. It is to bask consciously in His love and seek to reflect that love to other people (vv. 9-12). It is to give priority to the word of God and to obedience to it (vv. 7, 10). With those definitions in mind, will you choose today to remain in Him?

What about “fruit bearing”? “Fruit bearing” is the product of remaining in Him. This fruit includes the blessing that comes from obedience. It will manifest itself in the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23). It may also result in other souls that will be won to Christ (1 Cor 3:5-9).

No matter what this year holds with regard to your experiences, 2019 can still be the “best year yet” because you are choosing to remain in Christ. And, as a result, you are bearing fruit that brings Him honor.

Steve Kern

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