What if It All Depended on Jesus?

by Andy Wood on January 16, 2009

in Ability, Five LV Laws, Hoarders, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, Principle of Abundance

Help Wanted:  Branches

Master of the Universe, a firm dedicated to establishing change agencies throughout the world and providing eternal dwelling places for an undisclosed number of people, is seeking branches on which to conduct its fruit-bearing strategy.  Generous benefit package.  Unlimited positions available to trusting and trustworthy candidates.  No previous experience necessary.  Will train the right candidate(s).  (Please note:  No advancement possible.  This is an entry- and exit-level position.  The other two positions – Vine and Gardener – have been permanently filled.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Stop doing God’s job.  Not only is it unnecessary, it’s ridiculous.  And believe me, when you try to solve God-sized problems with man-sized vision and wisdom, you will be ridiculed.

So, following up from the last post, how DO we approach situations, opportunities, challenges, and problems that are larger than we are?

You approach them like a branch would. 

Abide in Him

Jesus once drew an earthly picture – an allegory – of a heavenly reality.  He described himself as a vine, with his Father as the gardener.  We who are Christ-followers are branches.  Jesus put it most concisely when he said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Now as long as we remember our role and our relationships, we will prosper.  It’s when we try to be somebody we’re not – especially when we try to do God’s job – that we run into a few problems.

What does it mean to be a branch of the Vine?

  • It means you’re made of the same stuff. You are capable of receiving the life, the nature, and the fruit-bearing power of the Vine because you have the Vine’s nature.
  • It means you are dependent.  Without him, you can do nothing.  With him, you can do all things.
  • Being a branch means you have no capacity to “root” yourself.  All your nourishment comes from the Vine.
  • It means that Jesus, the Vine, is your source – your faithful source – of all you need.
  • It means you bear fruit in season when you remain in that position to receive life and power from the Vine.

Sometimes we create problems for ourselves by asking the wrong questions.  When you make your dreams, yearnings and struggles a self-centered issue rather than a Christ-centered one, you find yourself focusing on questions like, “How can I satisfy the desires of my heart, and get to the life situation I want to be in”?

God’s answer:  You can’t experience the “fruitfulness” you desire apart from abiding in Him.  Many of your desires may be quite legitimate.  But they don’t change the fact that you’re a branch, not the vine.

There is a difference between the way a “branch” goes about solving its problems and the way a vine does.  Your flesh says, “Be the vine!  And solve your problems and challenges as a vine!”

God says, “Do you realize how stupid it is for a branch to act like the gardener”?

For a branch to solve its problems and satisfy its yearnings, only one thing is necessary.  It must remain attached to the flow of life found in the vine.  That is both a warning and a blessing.  The blessing is that your life becomes incredibly simplified.  Your job is to receive life from Jesus and share it with others.  God’s job is to figure out how to shape you and where to put you to make you more fruitful.

The warning:  stop playing Gardener.  You’re not made for it.

Ask in His Name

Six times in three chapters (John 14-16), Jesus talks about “asking in His name.”  Sorta makes me think He’s trying to get something across.  And He uses some pretty powerful words to go with it.  Words like, “ask anything,” and “whatever you ask.”  “You may ask me for anything in my name,” Jesus said, “and I will do it” (John 14:14).

Now either he means that or he doesn’t.  James adds that we don’t have because we don’t ask.  And we ask and do not receive because we ask with wrong motives (James 4:1-3). So what does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name?  It means to ask as his representative, for his glory, out of the overflow of His life abiding in yours.

Christians spend a lot of time pondering unanswered prayers.  I think we get it backwards.  I think God is more concerned with unasked prayer.  It amazes me after more than 30-plus years of following Christ that I will try every plan and scheme imaginable to get something done, and then, after everything else, I hear that tiny whisper:  “You haven’t asked Me.”

Do you want to know if you are abiding – really abiding – in Christ?  How’s this for evidence?  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).

Act in His Authority

In the story of the talents, servants were promoted to ambassadors and stewards.  Why did the master get so angry with the hoarder?  Because he lost a little interest money?

Not likely.  He was angry because his ambassador reflected poorly on his character, and made him look like a coward.

The miracle of the New Testament age is that the life of the Lord Jesus flows from those who believe in His name.  We are no longer just servants of God, but ambassadors and friends. In practical terms, that means when God gives you an assignment, he gives the corresponding authority to go with it.

LifeVestors understand that they aren’t acting on their own authority.  Are you a mother?  Be a mother with Jesus’ authority.  Are you in the professional world?  Be a professional in Jesus’ name.  That doesn’t mean the authority to be arrogant, or order people around.  It means the authority to claim God’s resources to accomplish whatever God puts in your heart to do.

What if the power, riches, wisdom, and strength to face a super-sized challenge all depended, not on you, but on Jesus?

It does.

And that’s a good thing.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ivy January 18, 2009 at 8:52 am

Amen! It’s all about what God has already done for us in Christ Jesus. We just need to abide in his grace and let God be God.

Ivys last blog post..Taizé – A Jew’s prayer for the children of Gaza

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: