This year I have babysat the same two children every week, and one thing that I have noticed is that they want to do everything on their own. Whether it is crossing the street, picking their snacks after school, or planning how they are going to spend their afternoon – they want to do everything on their own. In their minds, crossing the street without looking both ways, eating large quantities of candy, and watching hours of TV is the ideal way to spend the entire afternoon. While this may seem like the perfect scenario in their little minds, I know what is best for them. We look both ways and cross the streets together, almost always have healthy snacks after school, and try to spend lots of time outside/reading. Sometimes they get frustrated with me and say things like, “Why can’t we eat more candy? This food is boring!” ” I can do this by myself!” or “I don’t want to do my homework!” Each time I remind them that their mom knows what is best for them and they need to do what she says. When they listen and obey, they are always happier and grateful for their mother’s care.
“I can do this on my own…”
This sounds a little too familiar to me… I know that I serve a perfect, relational God who is worthy of my attention and obedience, but how often do I want to live my life on my own?
“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.”
Why do I try to leave the vine (Jesus), when I know that apart from Him I can do nothing? I depend on Him not only for my spiritual growth, but also for my very existence! A branch is unable to exist apart from the vine. The vine is the branch’s only source of life and growth! So why do I think that I can survive and grow without abiding in the vine (Jesus)?
This is where my pride comes in. After closely walking with Jesus for a while, it can become easy to “run off of old fuel.” To become complacent and think that I can survive for a while without spending time abiding in the vine. I quickly forget that any joy or love that exudes from my being, comes from Him! John 15:11 says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Friends, it is easy to become busy and distracted. To become numb to sin and complacency in your life. I have experienced the pain and weariness that comes from avoiding the presence of Jesus, and I have lost my joy in the process. Do not be deceived! Get on your knees and pray for the sake of fruit-bearing. Pray that you will be rooted in the love and joy that stems solely from the vine. Ask the Lord to give you a distaste for the things of this world that weakens your desire for His presence. You will not be wasting your time! He is alive, He is listening!
“Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”