So often out of a right desire to do good and God-honoring works we try and force fruit out of ourselves without taking the time to rest and receive the nutrients we can only get from abiding in our heavenly Father. A branch disconnected from an apple tree can no more produce good fruit than you and I can do good works apart from continual abiding in the love, grace, and presence of God. Without truly centering our lives around meeting with God, we’ll never produce the fruit we were created to make. Jesus taught us in John 15:1-5,
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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.
God’s heart is for us to abide in him all day, every day. How incredible is that! You and I can graft ourselves every day into the perfect, good, and powerful vine of our heavenly Father. We can wake up every day, open our hearts to God, and live out of the union afforded us by the powerful sacrifice of Jesus.
Rather than striving to do good works from the moment our feet hit the ground, we must take time to be loved by our heavenly Father. Rather than making our own opportunities to serve God, we must allow him to guide us to the works he’s set out for us. Rather than trying to lead others to Jesus by our own efforts, we must simply live openly and honestly with others, thereby revealing God’s heart to meet with those who are broken and in need of him. And rather than living as if God has left us to our devices, we must acknowledge our union with the Holy Spirit in every moment, thereby allowing his loving presence to permeate everything we do.
James 2:26 teaches, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” Connect yourself to the wonderful vine of Jesus today. Center your life around meeting with him. It’s only in abiding in God that your faith will produce works that are alive, eternal, and filled with the transformational power of God’s Spirit. May you discover the freedom and love available to you in continual communion with your heavenly Father today.