I was reading through Oswald Sanders book "Enjoying intimacy with God" today. (I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who thinks that there just might be more in terms of relationship with Jesus. His book "Spiritual leadership" is a must read for anyone looking to lead in any capacity). He is writing on John 15 The Vine and the branches. In this passage Jesus makes a statement "Apart from me you can do nothing.". That is a bold statement. I was thinking today "do I even believe that?". Not do I believe in a theology of spiritual dependance, because I do, as a theological construct, but do I really believe it.
That is, do I truly believe that I need to abide and remain (words Jesus uses in the passage) in Jesus relationaly to do anything.
In the context of the passage, Jesus is refering to bearing spiritual fruit. He is saying that I can not bear any Spiritual fruit apart from a relational intimacy with Him.
I can honestly tell you that I don't think I believe this. I know it's true. I trust Jesus. I know He doesn't lie. However I'm not sure if I truly believe it, because if I did my life would look radically different. I look at my life and it seems to me that I spend an awful amount of time trying to bear spiritual fruit on my own. I look at my schedule, habits, behaviour, work, preperation and free time and I see that I believe that I can bear fruit without Jesus everyday.
Not only that, but I seem to spend what little time I do with Jesus trying to get Him to bless all of that other stuff that I am doing with His stamp of approval. All of that screams "I believe that I can bear a lot of really good fruit without you Jesus. Or at least without much of you.".
Ouch!! That reality is painful to see clearly in my life, but it's there. It's the truth of my life.
I truly am hungry to see genuine, God-sized spiritual fruit borne out of my life, but do I want Jesus and true intimacy with Him, more than the fruit I think I want?
Do I want to be one of the guys that said "Jesus, I prophesied in your name (and even taught others to do it.) I drove out demons (and preached on deliverance to hundreds) and performed miracles (do healings count?)"? And Jesus said "depart from me I never Knew you.".
I can't imagine more painful words from Jesus lips than "I never knew you.". However I seem to focus on the fruit more than the fruit giver.
I do love Jesus. I don't know what I do without him, but it seems that I often am trying to do without Him.
I know Jesus loves to bear fruit in us. But I also know that He is calling me to come to Him. To remain in Him, abide in Him and keep that as my focus and my life's ambition.
(I have never heard of anyone getting a promotion or a raise in ministry for increased intimacy with Jesus or even being in a job description for Pastors).
I want my life's focus to change from bearing much fruit and worrying about that to becoming closer to Jesus.
I want to want Jesus more than what He might do through me. I want my life to demonstrate that I believe Jesus and know that I can't do anything apart from His life flowing through me out of relationship with Him.
I guess I want to become a passionate friend of Jesus and see what He decides to bear out of that.
I also know that that kind of change comes from transforming the way you live not just adding a few more minutes of prayer to your day.
I'll try to add more to my blogg about the journey God has me on at the moment and share what I learn along the way.
May Jesus continue to draw us closer to Him. May we pursue Him with all of our heart. May Jesus woo us to pursue a life of intimacy He desires.