Monday, January 17, 2011

Abide or fail

John 15:5 states it quite clearly: Either abide in Christ & bear much spiritual fruit, or go our own way & fail miserably ("apart from me [Jesus] you can do nothing"). I know this is not popular to read, especially in light of the many atheists, agnostics, and other-than-Christ followers who are doing pretty well in life AND who are generally nice people.

It's no wonder that Christ (that is, the Christ of the Bible, not the Christ many have created according to their own preferences) is anathema to many who dictate their own terms of success, who consider those who follow Him as cripples relying on a crutch. People like me have discovered we are crippled in the sense that even if we can succeed in the temporal things of this world, such is not true success in God's eyes if we do it apart from Him. Many would respond by calling us pathetic. We would have to agree; well, we were pathetic apart from His grace, and only by a close relationship with Him (He in us & we in Him) can we abound in a way that's meaningful to His kingdom.

Now, to take a slight turn, I'd like to focus on this passage in relation to its power for the Christian's life. For so long I wondered why I couldn't follow the Lord as I should. I'd read such and such is His will, and I this or that offends Him. But I've come to understand that all the passages in the Bible that define what a Christian should think or how one should act are not meant for us to try to memorize and then force ourselves to become those things. I believe they are meant to help the Christian understand what he or she will do as a natural result of abiding in Christ. For the non-believer, it's a picture of true Christianity (and, sadly, too often it shows us Christians up for being too far removed from that picture). I believe the more I abide in Christ (and vice-versa), the more I'll become the Christian the Lord expects. And while I can (and should) look in Scripture for God's word because of its inherent power and wisdom, by making time with Him a priority I'll gradually line up more and more each day with His will as expressed in the pages of His book.

1 comment:

  1. Great word, Jeff. Thanks for the comment over at my blog ... ... God has big things in store as we are in HOT PURSUIT of Jesus!