Our greatest strength comes from abiding (remaining) in God.
John 15: 1, 4-17.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are 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 done for 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 keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept 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: to lay down one’s life for one’s 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 so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
Culture vs. the Kingdom of Heaven
Our culture promotes self. If you want something, you go for it in your own strength. You make it happen. You persist. You press harder or push harder. The central character is us, the created ones. Our culture celebrates the “self-made” person.
The Bible teaches us that we can do nothing apart from God. Nothing means no thing. He is the Source of human life, even for the wicked and unbelieving. We exist because of Him. The central character of God’s story is God. The Kingdom of heaven celebrates the person dependent on God.
It hurts the pride and bruises the ego to realize that God is above all. He is above us. We are not God or demigods, though some teach this. God doesn’t force us to obey Him or comply, He’s still God and there are consequences for our choices. We are never truly independent from His Sovereignty.
If we are in Christ, then it’s good to recall that we are to rely on His strength. Our striving produces stress. Abiding produces abundant fruit. He is the Source of love, peace, joy, hope, faith, goodness, life, patience, meekness, gentleness, and self control. He’s the Vine. If we remain in Him, there’s flourishing life.
Example from Gardening…
I had a plant with vines. I noticed it would grow towards the light. Any parts of the vine that fell off, died. It was disconnected from its life source. The root system of that plant was supplying nutrients. The branches produced no life on their own. If I forgot to water or fertilize the soil, it died.
We need intimacy (relationship) with God more than anything else. We need the Light (God). We need water (His Spirit). We need fertilizer and food (His Word). When we place other things in front of Him, we suffer. God doesn’t cease loving us, we cease producing fruit.
Fruit is the result of fellowship and intimacy (abiding, remaining). We will always see fruit of our fellowship. If we fellowship with fear, the fruits are worry, anxiety, insecurity, suspicion, unhealthy stress, people pleasing, jealousy…
God knew and knows that we will suffer if He’s not first. We can’t produce Light and His Love without Him. He is Light; He is love.
Our first step in intimacy with God is salvation. The second is abiding. We receive first, then we give.
The highest priority isn’t doing for God, it’s being with God.
So beautiful friends, may we seek Him first. May we meet with Him, talk with Him, listen to Him…
What is God doing? What is He saying? What does His word say? What is God teaching us at this moment?
May we soak in His Presence and allow God to heal, restore, saturate us, and minister to us. God can do more in a moment than we can in a lifetime. He contains solutions to all the world’s problems.
Father, Abba Pai, help us to first receive from You and abide in You as Jesus did. Teach us to rest in Your love and the finished work of the Cross. May we have a deeper revelation of what’s already been paid for in Your Son. May we know heart, mind, and spirit the height, depth, and vast expanse of Your love for us. May we rely on Your strength and Your Spirit. In Jesus powerful name, Amen.
Praying for you! You are deeply loved (John 3:16).