Some of you may have seen the Questions program that Duff, Mike and Chris have been putting out over the past couple of years. Some of you may not have noticed or not checked it out yet. Our goal with Questions is to engage the church and non-churched people in thoughtful discussion around faith and […]
John 15: 4-5
“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.”
This has always been a passage that I appreciate. It reminds me that I need to stay connected to Jesus, and to be rooted in my faith. It reminds me that I am not the source and that it is Jesus in me that enables me to live and love as I should. It is not my strength, my will, or my dedication that enable me to “bear fruit”. It is my connection and relationship to Jesus that does. I draw strength, hope, joy, love from the true vine and as I take more and more of that into myself it begins to pour out of every aspect of my life.
There is one other aspect to this passage that I have overlooked in the past and that is that it is about US and not ME. All the “you’s” in this passage are plural. While this might not be a huge revelation to you, it is another reminder to me that I am not doing this alone. That Jesus calls us to do this together. We all grow together as we draw our lives upon Jesus. As Jesus works in each of us, he uses us to help encourage, mold and shape each other. It is a pretty unimpressive thing to see a plant where only one shoot or branch has sprouted, but to see a tree in full bloom is a thing of great beauty.
My hope in this:
1) You are able to remain strong in your connection to Jesus and experience a deepening of your relationship with him.
2) That you can have people whom you journey with as you grow and bear fruit together.
I was thinking about my own relationship with Jesus and what could possibly change who He is to me. If my life was completely flipped upside down and nothing was going right, would it change how I relate to Him? When things are good I am thankful and happy. When things are bad I get negative. Either way I try to place the blame on something I must have done or I distance myself from Jesus.
I realized that if I am going to call myself a disciple of Jesus I need to have a relationship built on who he is, and not what he does for me. I need to understand how I walk with him is not contingent or dependent upon what I have to offer. Even on what he can do/has done for me. Is Jesus himself enough? Do I only want Jesus for what he has to offer me and how he can improve my life? We usually default to the answer of “no” or “of course not”. I feel that this is either because we are afraid to look at our lives in a more honest way, or we are afraid of what it might cost us. You see, as we let go of “regular” things and pursue Jesus, we might find we get asked to sacrifice, to give things up, to have less for ourselves. Less money, less power, less comfort, but more Jesus. How does that sound to you? On its face not very appealing, unless you’ve met Jesus. You see, to really know Jesus is to see what being human actually is. In Jesus we see real life, real freedom, real hope. Jesus didn’t do things the way the established order did. He made time for the insignificant, he honoured the lowly, he gave his time and energy to show people their worth. That is what Jesus has in store for us too. If we can learn to grab a hold of him first and foremost. Ask him to drag us around with him, we will begin to see things differently. Our yearning for a better car, a better job, better health, better friends. This will all fade as we begin to see more and more of who Jesus is. As such, we will also find ourselves giving more, sharing more, wanting less, getting deeper friendships. We will see our lives improve but most likely not in the way we would have wanted. As we make Jesus the centre of who we are, we will learn what it means to be human, and what it means to truly live.
So, if you find you are tired of where you are at, maybe it is time to get to know Jesus? To decide that he is enough, and let go of all the other things that cling to your soul. Maybe it is time to say, “Jesus you are enough”.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
A short article from one of our Grow Up and Make a Difference resources available at Ways To Grow. It is from the site Christians Who Curse Sometimes, a site devoted to helping Christians deepen their faith. 5 Ways Christians Can Love Those With Different Political Views
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