People try so hard in life — to change, to be successful, to impress others, to stay in control. Many feel like they never measure up. They are disappointed in themselves.
The Christian life is union with Christ. Jesus explains this mystery in John 15 — that he is the vine and we are the branches and that apart from him, we can do nothing. It doesn’t matter how much effort or focus we muster up or how many self-help books we read; our fruitfulness only comes from our intimate connection with Christ.
Breathe a sigh of relief. Being fruitful isn’t about trying harder. It’s all about abiding in Christ: relying on his word, depending upon his power and strength, obeying his voice and instructions, and most of all, remaining in his love.
Rather than pushing ourselves to change or to be more fruitful, the effort we are called to make is to feed on his Word and to love and obey Jesus. He is the Gardener. He prunes our lives so we can be more fruitful. He is committed to remaining in us. He knows that apart from him, we can bear no fruit. He is committed to bringing much fruit from our lives for the Father’s glory! We are loved just as much as the Father loves Jesus.
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9).
Jesus proved his love for us by giving his life on our behalf. He calls us his friends. He has chosen and appointed us to bear fruit that will last.
Lord, thank you for calling me friend, for choosing and appointing me to bear much fruit for the Father’s glory. Help me to remain in and abide in you. Feed me with your Word, fill me with your life-giving power, transform me from the inside. Make me more like you. Have your way. Help me to love you by obeying you! Amen.
Today's Challenge: If you are putting more effort into changing yourself than you are trying to love God obediently, take time to rest in his love for you today and to feed upon his Word. Ask him to make you more fruitful than you have ever been — for his glory!
Photo Credit: Furkan Dokuzlar on Unsplash