One verse that I constantly struggle with is John 15:5. I struggle to believe that apart from Christ I can really do nothing. Once I inch towards believing that, then I struggle with trying to figure out why it’s such a struggle.
There are a multitude of reasons why this is a struggle. We live in a fallen world, we still war against our fleshly desires, and so on. However, one reason that hit me is the cultural reason.
From the time we are born until the time we die we are taught that independence is a sign of maturity. Kids need to learn to go to the potty on their own. They need to pick up their own toys and put them away. We move to the schooling years where the pinnacle of education is defined by writing a really large dissertation of independent, original thought. In the workplace, many evaluations or applications have a question asking if you can perform the duties independently or at worse with minimal supervision. To need help or be dependent on someone else means you haven’t yet arrived. You are lacking in some area.
We are conditioned to value independence as a sign of success. We want to have awesome quiet times, conquer some sin habit, design the perfect ministry. On our own. And then show it off to God so he’ll be proud of us. Then John 15:5 comes along and turns everything upside down. Independence in this spiritual realm means you’re lacking. Not only lacking a little, but lacking everything. It’s a bit overwhelming.
At that point of being overwhelmed we have 3 choices: 1) Try harder – Independence really is an idol, 2) Give up – I’ve tried as hard as I can, and it didn’t work. I’m done trying to have quiet times, war against my flesh, etc. or 3) Abide and rest – Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)
Do you want to bear fruit? Abide. What does abiding look like for you? Please comment below and let us encourage one another.
Next week: I believe that lack of prayer is both a cause and a symptom of our independent bend. Look for more on that next Friday.