“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:3-5, ESV)
Too often we live a self-centered religion that forces us to think through our own performance, both to achieve something and to seem righteous to those around us. If we have eyes to see it however we will realize this “religion” is no faith at all and simply reliance on our own work. If you are Christian, you have no time for this trash. If you desire it, there are plenty of other “ways” you can follow but just like performance driven “christianity” they will leave you lost and without hope.
This weekend I was asked to read this section of scripture during a worship session for leaders at our church. I love the text and it is the reason we call our young adult ministry ABIDE. As I read it I was struck by the depth of the truth and honestly a little discontented at the way we can miss the point.
These are the words of Jesus that stick: “apart from me you can do nothing.” While we might enjoy memorizing this verse and having it handy when tough circumstances come around, I think we tend to discard it as we prod through life content in succeed in our own ability. In reality, in light of this truth, the constant question of the Christian in EVERY aspect of life should be “how does Jesus answer this question, fill this void, empower this action, accomplish this task?” In too many sermons, conversations and situations I am left thinking “well that sounds nice but it doesn’t sound like we need Jesus.” It is as if we no longer have any use for Christ.
While we cling to Jesus’ “saving” work we act as if he does no sanctifying work.
As someone who opens scripture to others I see this as a tremendous danger for the church and its undoing to a great extent. I must constantly be asking how Jesus is working because apart from him we can do nothing. That means everything we do apart from Jesus is rubbish. It is worthless. I refuse to deliver sand to the thirsty. I repent of the times that I do this, inserting myself into the role of savior rather than pointing you to Jesus.
How do you need to repent and reclaim your place abiding in Christ? Apart from him you can do nothing.