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. John 15:5 (NIV)
Last week we celebrated the Fourth of July.
I enjoy celebrating this holiday that commemorates our birth as a nation and independence from England. The ability to live free and independent is a cherished value in American culture. We honor people who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made something of their lives. Plus, I like eating grilled hamburgers and watching the fireworks.
But, as a follower of Jesus, I have learned to value my dependence. Jesus teaches us that we have no life in us unless we stay connected to him. Just as a branch has life only as it is connected to the vine, we only have love, peace, and joy as we abide in him.
This conflict between our earthly culture and our heavenly culture can be confusing. Society rewards us for taking initiative, doing for ourselves, and stepping up to the plate. But Jesus rewards us for abiding in him, putting his kingdom first, and humbling ourselves before him. At some point, we must make a choice of whose way we will follow.
Fortunately, Jesus’ way has a promise built into it. If we live depending on him, we will bear much fruit. While society might encourage us to live independently doing whatever we think best, it is not able to deliver on a promise that everything will turn out all right for us. But Jesus is different. He is the Son of God to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given. When he makes a promise, he has the power to deliver.
Prayer: Jesus, I choose to depend on you today. Show me how to live my life abiding in you and you in me. Amen.