YOLO - A devotional

            As a 9th grade Bible study teacher at the church I attended in New York, I was exposed to their generation’s fads and trends through getting to know my students. One of these fads was saying the motto “YOLO,” an acronym for the phrase “you only live once.”  This motto is commonly said to excuse one’s behavior and actions. For example, in my thoughts, I would sometimes catch myself stating the motto in my head when I am contemplating whether I should buy chocolate for myself.   As trivial as this motto is - as all trends and fads of this world will pass - it got me thinking.  If I can justify my actions by a fleeting phrase, would I be able justify my actions based on a worldly view, before an Almighty God in heaven? Certainly, if God were to take account of all our actions, He would not be pleased if our actions were to please ourselves through the world’s standards.

            Looking at my life from a bigger perspective,  I began to think how much of the world’s view I was letting take foot in my life. Our society’s standards are laid out before us and tells us we must follow these standards to have a meaningful and successful life. We are to graduate from college, get a well-paid job, maybe raise a family, and have enough money to retire as early as we can.  I sometimes catch myself wanting the same things, however, I am reminded that God has holier plans for my life. Because, when I go to heaven, would it matter to God that I had a Bachelor’s degree and a successful career?  If I were to stand before God at His seat of Judgement, would I be confident that I, a so-called Christian, would be able to enter heaven?

            Jesus clearly states, “ I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2)   Nothing here says that I must follow the world’s standards in order to be exempt from hell. Rather, I must bear fruit to be saved from an eternal life in hell.

             If Jesus calls us to bear fruit, and become more fruitful, are we striving to become fruitful?  Much of the worldly success could entice us to believe it can be the fruit in our lives, but God says otherwise on what fruit really is. The apostle Paul clearly depicts this fruitful life: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22).   Moreover, the psalmist gives an example of what the person that bears fruit is like and how he remains fruitful: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” (Psalms 1:2-3).

            I am comforted by two truths about fruit-bearing through these passages. First, it is the Holy Spirit who is at work in me and allows me to bear fruit. I cannot bear this fruit alone. Second, the psalmist depicts the fruit-bearing person. By, “delighting in the word of God and meditating on it day and night” the word of God gives me nourishment like a tree planted by streams of water so that I will bear fruit.  My prayer for my fellow believers and myself is for God to sanctify the standards of our lives by allowing the Spirit and the Word of God to guide us to be fruit-bearers. Then we will be able to stand confidently before God at His seat of judgment, stating that it was not by our own efforts but only through Him that we were fruitful. Our “fruit” tells us the condition of our fate and we must check if our standards match up to God’s holy standard. You only live once.  Make sure you are living a fruit-bearing life.