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. (John 15:5, NIV)
Our power, our nutrients all comes from the Lord. What gives us strength to face the day is from God. The only way we can get those essential nutrients is if we are connected to the ultimate Source. But, when we try to do things on our own, when we aren’t connected, Jesus makes it clear that we can do nothing.
It is a brilliant illustration that Christ uses. There are so many times in my life where I try and do things on my own or by my own power, but I struggle so much that I feel like I wither up and die like a leaf does when it is not connected to the stem. I don’t know about you, but life is so difficult for me when I try to things on my own. By my own power, wisdom, strength, independence or energy I fail so often. I struggle to accomplish the task no matter how big or small it is. Let alone am I worshipping and glorifying the Lord in what I do.
I love the vivid imagery that Jesus uses and the reward that He points to. If we stay rooted in Him, if we stay connected to Him, if we seek after Him, He will always be with us and bless these lives with a great and eternal reward of bearing fruit. He will bless these lives in a way that will do things for the Kingdom. How great and awesome is it that God will use people like you and me to accomplish His great and mighty acts for His purpose and Kingdom. That is not to say that God needs us, but He wants to use us. God needs nothing, yet we need Him for everything.
The reason we can breathe or think or talk or eat or stay warm in the cold or have a body that works or any of the gifts that He has given us is all simply by the grace of God allowing it to happen. God gave us those things. I want to talk more about the “remain in me and I in you” part in another post about something I read in a Tozer book. But for now, I just want to pray that we are consciously aware of God’s Presence. The thing our hearts long for and desire is being connected to God and being in His Presence, we are reminded that in this verse is that God is with us. But we need to stop trying to fill our hearts with worthless idols that leave us empty and will never take the place of the Almighty God in our hearts. The thing we deeply crave and need and desire is within reach, but we must push in to Him. We must stay connected. Keep seeking. Not just apply it in theory or listen to theory, but long after God and seek His Presence. God, we are thirsty people. Help us with our thirst to only thirst after you and not build broken cisterns.
There is so much of my life that I am not aware that God is with me. I do not call on Him to help me whether it is a big struggle or a small irritation, but God is right there. He is waiting on us to push in to Him and a conscious awareness that He is with us. He is in us. And we are in Him!
I was having a tough morning and I was thinking about what I needed to do and how much I was dreading it, yet this verse kept going through my mind. God kept reminding me that if I try to accomplish this task on my own, I will fail. As much as I didn’t want to do this task, I had to. I knew it meant people probably wouldn’t like it or agree with it, but it is part of my job. I simply had to keep praying “God, I can’t do this without you. Apart from you I can do nothing.” The thing is I am so weak that I need God to help me depend on Him and constantly keep trusting Him with my life and dependence.
In the simplest things, if I am not connected to God and His power, I can’t overcome the evil around me. Without God, I am not able to forgive those who wrong me and treat me poorly. I can’t love them. I can’t let things go and I let them fester and eat away at me. I don’t even know what I should do in life. What my talents, gifts and abilities can be used for. I struggle with seeking things that don’t matter and leave me so empty. I focus so much on how I need to do this or do that. I focus on rituals. Apart from the Source of all nutrients, all love, all power, all strength, all necessities I am lost. So lost.
But, when I am connected, God helps me do what I cannot. Let me tell you, it is rough and very tough on me when people are rude. When people are just mean for no reason. I struggle when life doesn’t go the way I planned or something doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to. But, God works me through those things. He gives me the love to forgive. He listens to my hurt and understands why I hurt. He understands but leads me to forgiveness and love. He leads me to accomplish the tasks I need to get done, whether it is for work or for home. All too often I don’t ask Him for help or to lead me. As we talked the other day, I don’t wait on Him to lead me, I leave Him at the temple to try and do it on my own. That is when I fail and why I fail. I need God in everything. I am hopeless without Him. I recognize and realize that without God, my life doesn’t make sense. My life is a struggle. Life is tough and I make it tougher by my independence.
Oh how I love to be in the waterfall that is God. The water of grace and strength and mercy and love and wisdom and so much of God’s goodness pour out on me and I can overcome the struggles of life the self-induced pain is defeated by God alone. Don’t be like me. Don’t be like our sinful selves want us to be. Stay connected to The Source of life, the Fountain of Living Water and take big gulps from Him. Drink in His strength. Soak up His vital nutrients and live. Apart from God, we will fail. We cannot love those close to us. We cannot accomplish our tasks. We will fail in the battle. Satan will win. The attacks will come and the words will be twisted. Our minds will become warped. We will give in to temptation. Say things we shouldn’t say. Do things we shouldn’t do. Follow a path that isn’t where we should go. God will lead us. We need to seek Him. Cry out to Him. David did this. He knew he had to lay down his pride and ask for God to help. Attacked on all sides he cried out to God, and God came. He will come for us to.