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.
No Root, No Fruit
Jesus told the disciples that they could do nothing without Him (John 15:5), and nothing is not a little something. Jesus chose us and appointed us to bear much fruit, and it is not a one-time fruit bearing but fruit that lasts (John 15:16). If there is no real root from the Word, then it will wither and die when persecution comes (Matt. 13:21). Paul knew that he could do anything through Christ (Phil. 4:13), so the opposite must be that Paul could do nothing outside of Christ. Paul knew that he couldn’t change his own actions and attitudes outside of the power of God’s Spirit. He knew that each one of us lives, moves, and has our being in Him (Acts 17:28). God orders every step of a good man and not the man himself (Psalm 37:23). We like to think we’re planning our own way, but it is God Who actually directs our steps (Prov. 16:9). That’s why we must trust God to change us and not try to change ourselves through human effort alone. If there is no root, there can be no fruit.
When we are born again, we become new creatures or creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Outside of Christ, we are the old creatures who have no hope of change. Our old man was actually buried with Christ at baptism into His death and raised to new life in Christ just as Jesus was raised from the dead (Rom. 6:4). New creations in Christ will have new desires for Christ, and when we put on the new self, we are created to be in the likeness and image of God (Eph. 4:24), so what really counts is our new creation by the Holy Spirit’s power (Gal. 6:15). If you’ve been born again, then Jesus, Who began His work in you, will surely complete it up until the day He returns (Phil. 1:6).
God at Work
God is at work in every child of His, so we must trust Him to change our attitude and our actions and not try to do it without Him. God works in our wills for us to do good works for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). Notice that God works in our wills. This work changes us to do good works, and now it’s not only we who live but Jesus Christ Who is living in us. Now this life of faith in God is how we live a different life (Gal. 2:20). If you are in Christ right now, you are being changed, even though it’s imperceptible or you can’t see it. You are being changed or transformed slowly but surely into the same image as that of Christ, and this change is from the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18). We were predestined to be conformed into the image of the Son of God (Rom. 8:29). Why even now God declares we are the children of God (1 John 3:2). So again I ask you and myself, do we trust God enough to change the attitudes and actions of our lives by our own power or by the power of the Living God?
A Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father, supreme and sovereign over all, please, I pray, give me help to change and to understand that I cannot change into Your Son’s image without Your Spirit’s help, and for this I pray in Jesus’ name.
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