A Foundation of Abiding
“I can’t do this anymore, I should give up.”
“God is disappointed in me.”
“Why does everyone else have it together but I don’t?”
These are all lies that I have believed whenever I fall short and most likely you have believed them too. I have the wonderful trait of being way too hard on myself. Often I found myself making goals that I could never reach in my spiritual life, academics, and lifestyle. Though they were poorly executed, my goals still flowed from good intentions. I wanted to be someone who reflected Christ in the way I loved others and in the habits I practiced. Many of these goals were worthwhile like getting up early to spend time with Jesus, getting ahead in homework or going to the gym regularly. The problem was that I would fail to reach them. This resulted in me beating myself up every time I fell short and, because I am a fallen human being like everyone else on this planet, I fall short a lot. This vicious cycle continued for months, but then I discovered John 15:5 where Jesus says:
“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.” (NIV)
In setting many of these goals, I was a dead branch that lay in the dust attempting to force out fruit apart from the vine. We cannot do anything truly good apart from Christ. Only by abiding in Christ can we bear fruit. Philippians 2:13 reads:
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
It is Christ that enables us to reach our goals. Sadly, we often buy into misconceptions about what abiding in Christ looks like. Abiding in Christ does not always look like getting up at the crack of dawn, hiking into the middle of the woods, and sitting on a rock with your Bible while writing in your leather-bound journal during a glorious sunrise. Nor does it always look like the Instagram Bible study photos we see people posting. Abiding in Christ is driving to work and pausing the music to just dwell on the majesty of God. Abiding in Christ is sitting on your bed and praying before going to sleep. Abiding in Christ is making 10 minutes to be alone with Jesus and seek him in his Word during a very hectic day. When we do these things, we seize the mundane and give it an eternal meaning. Only in practicing this lifestyle of abiding can we see truly good fruit come out of our lives. Whatever we do we must start with Christ. He is the vine and we are the branches.
- We can’t rely on our own strength if we want to bear fruit.
- It is Christ who enables us to bear fruit.
- We have to abide in Christ.
- Before we set goals, start with Jesus.