“ I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
It can be easy for me to get so busy being busy for God that I forget to stop and spend quality time with Him. Does this ever happen to you? I found a good quote about this in my devotional by Henry Blackaby recently:
“Jesus gave a clear picture of what our relationship to Him ought to be like. He is the vine, the source of our life … As we receive life from Christ, the natural inevitable result is that fruit is produced in our life. In our zeal to produce ‘results’ for our Lord, we sometimes become so intent on fruit production that we neglect abiding in Christ … Yet Jesus said that it is not our activity that produces fruit, it is our relationship with Him” (Experiencing God Day by Day).
This is something I need to be reminded of because I can so often slip into thinking I need to be in charge of the “fruit” my life produces. I start to think that my life in Christ rests squarely on my shoulders and try to live this out under my own strength. Another analogy I read about in The Indwelling Life of Christ by Major Ian Thomas fits here:
“Man cannot produce righteousness on his own, however, any more than a car can go or an oil lamp can shine without fuel … To get light from an oil lamp, filling it first with oil is entirely reasonable. To get a car to provide you with transportation, filling the tank with gas is completely logical. In the same way, divine logic affirms that obtaining righteousness from a man or woman only happens when that person is filled with God.”
I do know that producing results for God is not the main goal of my Christian walk but that relationship with Him is instead. And that my “good works and service” will be a natural outpouring of my intimacy with God and not the other way around. Even knowing this, I still sometimes get those two things switched at times. The Indwelling Life of Christ also has this to say:
“So long as Christians are busy doing for God what is best in their own eyes, they will never enter into His rest and the true inheritance that is theirs to enjoy now. They will only be sweating it out, and end up weary, discouraged, depressed … For any activity of yours or mine to produce righteousness, God Himself must be the source of it.”
Such an easy thing to try to manufacture good, quality “fruit” on my own in my Christian life. But all these quotes come back to the idea found in John 15:5 – abiding in Christ is the only way for this fruit to truly happen. I don’t want to just live a good life based on my own idea of what seems right for me. No, I want to live out God’s best for me and my life instead! So how do I get there? By understanding that my time spent in intimacy with Christ is never wasted but instead is the key to it all.