11/13/20 We Can Do Nothing

READING: Ezekiel 43-45, Psalm 135, John 15

Most of us have been raised to strive for success – to study, grow, and do so that we can accomplish much. Our world even determines our value on the basis of what we achieve. These ideas, though, seem contradictory to Jesus’ words in today’s reading:  

  • “Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4)
  • “. . . apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) 
  • “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
  • “ . . . you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” (John 15:19) 

There’s much in these words that is both challenging and comforting. I’m challenged by the reminder that I cannot do anything apart from Jesus. I admit there’s a lot of activity I can do on my own, but it won’t have eternal significance. That is, I’ll be spinning my wheels in a way that might be pleasing to the world but not to the Lord when I’m operating in my own ability. Any fruit I might produce won’t be lasting; in fact, it will be a decaying fruit with little value.  

On the other hand, Jesus never said we must do this work on our own. Rather, He chose us despite our sinfulness, and He has appointed us to bear genuine, lasting, life-changing fruit. His appointment means that He has chosen to take up residence in us as His children, and His connection to us that empowers us to produce fruit is His work. So much does Jesus want us to know that truth that He speaks similar words more than one time in this chapter. He calls us to Himself so we might exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Gal 5:22-23) and see the fruit of evangelism as well. Even if others opposed to God hate us, He still uses us when we realize we can’t do anything.  

 PRAYER: “God, remind me often that I can do nothing apart from You.”   

TOMORROW’S READING: Weekend is for catch-up and review 

MONDAY’S READING: Ezekiel 46-48, John 16

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