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Deep People

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5 NIV)

Jesus is the vine. We are the branches. You don't have to run a winery to understand this vital relationship He is lifting up. The vine provides the sustenance. The vine gives life to the branches. The branches draw the nutrients from the vine and produce the grapes. Cut off from the vine, the branch produces no fruit. It can only wither and die.

We are used to the philosophy that says, "If it is to be, it is up to me." We believe we must generate anything and everything that happens in our lives. We are used to self-sufficiency. And because we are created in the image of God and He has built into us an instinct to produce life, it can be so easy to try to make spiritual things happen in our lives by the sheer power of our will and actions.

If we are not entirely Christlike, our response is to try harder. His call is to abide more deeply in Him. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. Oh, we can exist. We can build our own little kingdom and try to make something of our lives. But apart from Him, we can do nothing of eternal significance.

As a Pastor, I learned a long time ago that I cannot change a life. I cannot make people accept Christ or overcome an addiction or become more Christlike. That is all the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the sap in the vine that produces fruit through the branch of my life. Going deep into my relationship with Jesus -- remaining (abiding) in Him -- is the thing that allows my life to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God.

God does not need my talent. He is the source of all talents embedded in every image-bearer He has created. Jesus does not need my intelligence. He is Wisdom itself. He knows all things and sees all things and understands all things. The Holy Spirit does not need my ability. The thing He needs is my availability.

We do not need to be talented people or smart people or gifted people. Truth is, God has already implanted all that in us by making us in His image. What we need to be is Deep People. People who are grafted into the vine and draw sustenance from Jesus Christ by making Him our life.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

We will bear fruit if we abide in Christ and allow Him to abide in us. The one who makes life all about Jesus will bear more fruit by simply living for Him than the one who makes life all about myself and tries with all my might to make a better world and be a good, moral person.

This is why it is so important to practice the spiritual disciplines that draw us close to Jesus. It is vital that we worship with other Christ followers to deepen our faith and receive Holy Communion with openness to be filled again and again with the grace of God. It is crucial to have a daily quiet time -- a regular, consistent time of reading Scripture for ourselves to hear from God and learn His heart and to open our hearts to God in prayer and listen for His still, small voice. It is life-giving to band together with others in a small group, encouraging one another, praying for one another, watching over one another in love and holding one another accountable. By these spiritual disciplines we abide in Christ and He imparts His own life into us.

Jesus calls us to be Deep People because He desires to know us and love us and be known by us and loved by us. Jesus invites us to be Deep People so He can produce Kingdom fruit through our lives, making Him known to others and showing them the faith that is changing our lives.

So I have to ask myself, "Am I satisfied with the spiritual depth of my life? And is Jesus satisfied with my spiritual depth?" Truth is, one can always go deeper into Jesus. The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to make the love of Jesus Christ our only motive and make us more and more Christlike never ends this side of eternity. And it may simply never end, period.

So abide in Christ, my friend. Draw near to Jesus. Make life itself all about Him. Allow the Holy Spirit to rearrange your priorities so Jesus is number one. Confess and repent of any secret sins or habits that keep you far from Him. Power comes through purity.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."


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