If you saw someone taping apples to a tree and then trying to convince you it was an apple tree, you would call them crazy. Not only would the fruit eventually fall to the ground and rot, the tree would look silly.
When we try and "be a Christian" without spending time with Jesus, we do exactly that. We produce fruit that is rotten and no good for anything. It looks silly and fake to a world that needs the real thing.
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. — John 15:4–5 (ESV)
As we draw to an end of our January Fast, this is the most important thing I hope you have learned. You will bear no fruit apart from being with Jesus.
Will this be the year that you make him a priority? Or will you start strong like every other year and then slowly fall back into a life where you are the vine, you are the branches and you are the fruit?
This is simple, but very hard.
It’s hard to trust Jesus enough to take time out of our day and allow him to lead our life. It's hard to trust Jesus with all the details of our week, not just our Sunday mornings. It's hard to surrender all the details of our life to Him, believing that He can and will take care of us.
But what are your other options? If you don't trust Jesus, then what or who will you trust this year to take care of you, provide for you, protect you and lead you?
If you choose to trust Jesus, then live like you really trust Jesus. If you are tired of faking the fruit, then choose to abide in Jesus.
Andrew Murray says this:
"If I am to be a true branch, if I am to bear fruit, if I am to be what Christ as Vine wants me to be, my whole existence must be as exclusively devoted to abiding in Him, as that of the natural branch is to abiding in its vine. Abiding is to be an act of the will and the whole heart. Just as there are degrees in seeking and serving God, "not with a perfect heart," or "with the whole heart," so there may be degrees in abiding.
Jesus desires to call us away from ourselves and our own strength, to Himself and His strength. Let us accept the warning, and turn with great fear and self-distrust to Him to do His work. The Spirit teaches us that life is given from Heaven every day and every moment to the soul that accepts the teaching: "not of itself," "except it abide," and seeks its all in the Vine. Abiding in the Vine then comes to be nothing more nor less than the restful surrender of the soul to let Christ have all and work all, as completely as in nature the branch knows and seeks nothing but the vine."
Let's choose to continue to fast, pray and give more and more of our life to Jesus. Not because we have to, but because in surrendering to Him we experience more and more of the life He has for us and we produce more and more fruit. Real fruit!
Restful surrender or fake fruit: the choice is ours!!