Keith Green sang:
My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to you and dead to me
But what can be done
For an old heart like mine…
I can relate! Patrick Quinn says that most of us default to a process he calls slow death. The only alternative is to choose deep change.
Jesus teaches us how to experience deep change. The day before he is killed, he explains how to live, really live, when he is absent. He uses the image of the vine and makes two points:
One: The Father will prune us (last week)
Two: We must abide in the Son (repeated 10x)
What does it mean?
Bearing fruit doesn’t come from our own effort or achievements.
Bearing fruit (broad – includes making new disciples; fruit has seeds for more life – Many things can be counterfeited, but not reproduction) doesn’t come from human achievement, but from one’s position with Christ
Jesus is the source of all life and productivity for the disciple.
**Abiding in Jesus and bearing fruit are not two different actions, but really one and the same.
Real danger: branches that try to “go it alone”
The secret of Jesus’ life was constant contact with God. We must keep contact with Jesus. Take deliberate steps.
Arrange our life, prayer, and silence so that there is never a day when we give ourselves a chance to forget him.
Illustration: Electrical circuit
- We will bear fruit (5)
- Our prayers will be answered (7)
- We will bring God glory (8)
- We will show that we are Christ’s disciples (8)
A week ago, one of our trees lost a limb. The city came by and chopped the fallen limb. They’ve decided that the tree needs to be destroyed and replaced by a sapling.
The reason: A couple of years ago, our front lawn was dug up and the roots were destroyed.
The lesson for me: even the most mature believer can experience slow death once he or she is removed from the source of life. Even the youngest believer (the smallest sapling) has greater life, if connected to Christ.