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
I’m a person who often judges my own worth on performance and accomplishment. I’m a bit type A, hyperproductive. Use whatever label you like, it doesn’t bother me—I get things done, and that is what matters to me.
So much of this performance mentality carries over into my spiritual life—in fact, may have been fostered by my religious upbringing. I grew up in a church where people would, with a straight face, ask you how many people you’d led to the Lord. And look concerned if your number was too low. And then walk into church service where we would sing, without a trace of irony, “Just As I Am.”
I tried really hard to bear fruit, by witnessing or doing good deeds. I worked very hard at “remaining” or “abiding” in Jesus—by reading and memorizing Scripture, praying, going to church—all kinds of doing.
Reading, memorizing, praying, witnessing—all are good things, if they flow out of our connection to Jesus. But sometimes, we do such things in an attempt (subconscious, perhaps) to impress Jesus or try to earn approval.
But that is not what abiding is about. Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing.” Rather than making plans and asking Jesus to assist, I need to learn to let Him make the plans. I have to trust that fruit will be the inevitable result of a life spent clinging to Jesus.
FAITH STEP: So often, we have a little time with Jesus in the morning and then disconnect our little branch to go off into our day. Today, keep the image of the vine and branch in your mind. Have no other goal than abiding, turning your thoughts and heart toward Him, for a few seconds at a time, as you go through your day.
Written by Keri Wyatt Kent
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