“Don’t just do something, stand there!” That seems a little bit backwards from what we would normally think, doesn’t it?
I consider myself to be a very busy person. It seems like I am always doing something. I think many of us are in that same boat. Always on the go, always doing, and I think as Christians we might actually be the worst offenders of this. The Church has some of the busiest people that I know. So, before you write me off as a heretic (or even lunatic) listen to what Jesus has to say about all of our “doing.”
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. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love.
There is so much in this passage that speaks to me, but particularly verse 5:
“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.” In other words, “Don’t just do something, stand there.” The call that we often hear to just go and “do something” really doesn’t hold any merit, if God’s not in it. in fact the word that you hear repeated constantly in this passage is quite simply to abide - stay – stand – endure – reside – dwell – remain – bear.
If we are ‘doing’ and not abiding in Him while we are doing it, what happens? According to this verse, we are thrown away like a withering branch, and burned up in the fire. What we are doing apart from Him is worthless. We are called to abide – stay-stand-endure-reside-dwell-remain-bear in Him. That’s how we will bear fruit. If we are cut off from the branch, it won’t happen.
It reminds me of an apple tree. If I cut off a branch from the apple tree, how many apples will grow on it? How then, could I expect what I do to bear fruit, if what I am doing is apart from God?
In my study time this morning I was presented with two questions that I want to share with you. What I did was take the two questions and made some lists. Now, I am not a very good list maker, my wife has that gift, but I did it, and God is revealing much to my heart in regards to my responses. Here are the two questions to consider, and I would encourage you to prayerfully make your own lists today. He is showing me today all of the things that He is doing vs all of the things that I am doing both with Him and also apart from Him.
1) What are we doing in our lives and in our churches that cannot be accomplished unless God intervenes?
2) What are we doing in our lives and churches that could be done without any reference to God at all?
This week’s Fighter Verse: But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-8)