Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Abide, Don’t Strive - Martin Wiles

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:4 NLT
The stalk leaned over, as if it wanted to touch the ground. But doing so would destroy all chances of it doing what it was made to do.
When we moved to our new place of residence, we found our small backyard bare—except for a few hills of hasta and one lone shrub. The last owner had dug up everything else she had planted and took it with her. 
As spring made its way, the itch to plant overtook me. Like my grandfather, I love to plant a garden, but where? Why not where I intended to plant shrubbery? And why not let my oldest grandson help?
So we did. Before long, corn, cabbage, beans, squash, cucumbers, and eggplants were growing in our backyard. One day, I noticed one corn stalk tilted over. Though it wasn’t uprooted, I knew its position would affect its outcome. It wouldn’t tassel or produce earns of corn in that position. I carefully stood it up and packed more dirt around its base. I’ve had to do the same with other stalks.
Jesus taught from an agricultural perspective. Grapes, vines, and wine were familiar to his listeners. They knew if a branch was severed from the vine it wouldn’t produce fruit. It can’t. The life-giving nutrients no longer flow. But Jesus wasn’t talking about vines and grapes. He was talking about people.
I connect to Jesus, the Vine, through a faith relationship. If I choose not to—for whatever reason—I’ll die, spiritually. But if I connect to Him, I’ll produce spiritual fruit and enjoy life as He intends that I live it.
Once connected, I must abide—not strive. Striving involves self-effort while abiding means resting—but at the same time not inactivity. I can’t do enough good things for God to save me, nor can I do enough good to remain saved. I depend on faith and God’s promises.
When we abide, we can live in peace, knowing all is well between us and God. Through abiding, God’s Spirit will give us the power to obey God’s commands and live a life of holiness. We can’t do it on our own, but God can do it through us—which is how God designed the process to work.
Abide in Christ, so you can live out your God-intended life.

Prayer: Father, give us the strength to abide in You each day so we can receive the spiritual nutrients we need to live the life You’ve called us to live. 

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