Let’s do a little exercise with logic. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is what Jesus teaches in John chapter fifteen. It goes like this:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;Â apart from me you can do nothing.” 15:5
Without Jesus you can do nothing. That’s pretty clear.
But this also means the reverse: if you end up doing nothing, you are doing it without Him.
If your theology can handle it, it seems to me you can boil the transformational process in Jesus down to two steps. Step one is what Jesus does in saving us. We cannot earn this or merit this by any stretch of the imagination. We simply accept it. Step two is our response to this unbelievable deal and how it changes us for the rest of our life. To have the second without the first is works-based religion and will never work. But to have the first without the second is to miss the point of what happens when we remain in Christ. Christians are often susceptible to either of these mistakes.
Without Jesus you will never be good enough. In fact, your best effort will ultimately amount to nothing.
But with Jesus you will bear much fruit. Not create the fruit, just support the fruit that Jesus is creating. The point is that there will be fruit. To strive for doing nothing in an attempt to simply enjoy Christ is to miss the fullness of remaining in Christ. Truly remaining in Christ naturally causes us to bear fruit. So if you have a spiritually fruitless faith, which benefits you and seems not to impact those around you or the Church, it is because you aren’t fully remaining in Him.Â May this be an encouragement to fully embrace the living Jesus in our midst this very moment.
You don’t make effort in order to impress God, you make effort because you are impressed with Him.Â (click to tweet this)
HT: Dallas Willard, The Great Omission