Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Back in the late 60’s as the Vietnam War was heating up, recording artist Edwin Starr wrote a song entitled “War.” In the song he asks, “War, huh, yeah; what is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!” Jesus gave the disciples a similar song in John 15, but it had nothing to do with war. He asks here, “living out of your own power, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” He told the disciples that apart from being intimately connected to Him they could do absolutely nothing! The same is true for you and I. Apart from a daily intimate relationship with Christ we are hopeless, helpless, and useless.
Scripture gives us three nothing statements, if you will, in terms of our abilities or resources apart from Christ. First, as Jesus says here, we can DO nothing apart from Him. It’s easy to think that we can somehow impress God with our good works or actually make up for our mistakes with righteous actions, but the opposite is true. Apart from Christ living in and through us we actually do more harm than good. We cannot add to God’s glory and we don’t do Him any favors. God is not impressed by anything we can do on our own, and anything we do on our own without Jesus is sin.
Second, the Bible says we HAVE nothing apart from Christ. James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes down from above. No matter how hard you have worked or how decisive or disciplined you have been in life, everything good we have comes from God. Were it not for His blessed grace and wisdom imparted to us we would not have the health, the intelligence, the relationships, or anything else that has led to our supposed success. By the way, there is no true success apart from Christ being at the center of it, no matter how much money, possessions, or prestige come with it. In life we own nothing, we are stewards merely managing His resources.
Thirdly, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:2 that without the love of Christ as our motivation we ARE nothing. That gets right to the heart of our identity. If we think we are something when we are actually nothing we deceive ourselves. If we gain the whole world but lose our families what have we really accomplished? If we have everything money can buy but fail to love people what good is it? Some of the most miserable people in the world are millionaires who have nobody to share their wealth with. The cheapest gift in the world is a person all wrapped up in himself. Apart from Christ we are nothing.
Oh, Child of God, apart from the love, provision, wisdom, and power of God you and I can DO nothing, we HAVE nothing, and we ARE nothing. Today, understand just how desperate we are for Christ and abide in Him. Remain in His Word. Rest in His presence in prayer. Remember His promises and stand on them. Call on His wisdom and grace. Find your worth and purpose in the love of God. Doing this life on your own; what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Oh Lord, apart from You I can do nothing. Forgive me for trying to do life on my own apart from your love, wisdom, provision, peace, and power. I will abide in You Jesus. Fill me with Your Spirit and love. Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.