For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Without Christ, you and I can do nothing. Nothing worth doing that is. But with Him, the promise laid out here in God’s word is that we can do everything. Somebody once said, you and I become most like the five people we spend the most time with. What if one of those people became the Lord Jesus? We would become more loving, which means we’ll be more joyful. And I want you to know you’re doing this right now. You’re spending time with the Lord in His Word. Let’s get started today in the Book of John.
A few months ago, my husband and I became parents again, plant parents. Yeah. We went out on a limb, no pun intended there, and my husband picked up a plant at Trader Joe’s. He brought him home. Yes, we named him Frodo. And honestly, Frodo has been thriving in our home. It’s the first plant I haven’t killed. It’s like a miracle. We talked to Frodo, we water him regularly and we were so encouraged by this that we bought another plant, named her Tasha. And I want to tell you a story about Tasha, today on the Bible for Busy People. As we continue our new series, it’s all about gardening with God and how he is always working in the soil of your life and my life. Well, Tasha is a miniature yellow rose plant and she has not exactly been thriving as much as Frodo has. And I noticed one day there were all these dead leaves in her soil, so I went to clean them out and in the process my fingers were getting pricked by her thorns. And as I stood there doing what needed to be done, so that Tasha could be cared for, and yes, I’m even loved back to life, I thought of what Jesus did for you and I. He had to come to deal with our thorns. It’s why he was born on Christmas, lived a sinless life, and on Good Friday they put a crown of thorns upon his head. How ironic is that? He took on our thorns so that we could live and thrive and feel loved. He loves us just that much. And don’t you want a relationship with a God like that? Join me, won’t you, in the book of John John’s gospel, chapter 15, beginning in verse one, this is Jesus speaking.
I am the true grapevine and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so that they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine. And you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me and I and them will produce much fruit for apart from me, you can do nothing.
That’s a strong statement from Jesus. And we’re going to come back to it in just a few moments here. But right now we’re going to move on to verse six.
Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want and it will be granted. When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my father.
I’m thinking about what Jesus just said about how if we don’t remain in him, if we’re not connected to him, we’re like a useless branch that withers. Think of your Christmas tree, right? The minute you cut that tree down, you cut it off from its source of life. It’s no longer connected to the roots and the ground. And slowly, it’s kind of sad to think about, but over the Christmas season, it’s slowly dying and eventually you’re either going to burn it, or you’re going to put it out by the side of the road for it to just be taken away. It’s a picture of that, right? But when that Christmas tree is living in the mountains, surrounded by all of the other trees, it is alive. It’s branches are swaying in the cold winter breezes. It’s doing what it was created to do. It’s providing shade in the summer. It’s doing all the things. That’s a picture of my role and your role in this world, when we’re plugged in and connected to Jesus. Alright, picking it up now in verse nine.
I have loved you even as the father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commitments, you remain in my love. Just as I obey my father’s commitments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow. This is my commandment, Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends. If you do what I command.
I just want to pause here for a moment. Jesus, lay down his life for you and for me, to pay for our sins, to provide peace on this planet in unexplainable situations, and eternal life forever with God in heaven. And when he tells you and I to lay down our lives, I think what he means is that he wants us to love each other even when it’s not easy. As a matter of fact, even when it’s really hard, even when you’re kind of doing it through gritted teeth. Maybe the person doesn’t notice, but you’re noticing. You and I have the opportunity, the sacred opportunity to lay down our lives for Jesus as he did for us by simply loving one another. That’s pretty powerful. Verse 15.
I no longer call you slaves because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends. Since I have told you everything the father told me, you didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command. Love each other.
Did you notice just moments ago, Jesus is saying, Hey, if you remain in my love, you’ll have love to give away and you’ll overflow with joy. I believe these are the promises that he’s laying out for us, and I just think it’s beautiful. Now, I want to go back to verse five. Remember when Jesus just said to us, apart from me, you can do nothing. Well, I want you to flip over to Philippians Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, chapter four, verse 13. You’re going to love this. It says,
For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.
Without him, you and I can do nothing. Nothing worth doing that is. But with him, the promise laid out here in God’s word is that we can do everything. Somebody once said, you and I become most like the five people we spend the most time with. What if one of those people became the Lord Jesus? We would become more loving, which means we’ll be more joyful. And I want you to know you’re doing this right now. You’re spending time with the Lord in His Word. You’re already doing it. Let’s stay connected to the Lord Jesus. Until next time, you are loved.
Thank you so much for listening to the Bible for Busy People. If you need prayer or you’re ready to go a little deeper in your faith, we’ve posted some resources for you in our show notes. We’d love for you to share this podcast with a friend and leave us a review. It helps us reach even more people with the hope of Jesus. This podcast is part of Purposely, a podcast network designed with practical podcasts to help you find and live in God’s purpose for your life.
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