“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Here it is... all you need to know to be a better Christian.
1. Pray more often.
2. Have your daily quiet time.
3. Study your bible.
4. Memorize a passage of scripture a week.
5. Go to church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evenings.
6. Attend Sunday school.
7. Read the entire bible within one year.
8. Attend a religious rally event once each year.
9. Go on a mission trip once each year.
10. Be a part of a small discipleship group.
There you have it. Do these things and you're sure to be a better Christian!
I HOPE YOU KNOW I'M KIDDING!
The sad thing though is that many of us get caught in the legalistic routines of Christianity. We want to be better, we want to serve the Lord more and be more effective for His Kingdom. But there is one very important thing to understand. WE CAN DO NOTHING, to bear fruit that impacts the Kingdom of God apart from Christ.
We think if only I can do this list of things like the list I just created then we'll be better and do more for Christ. But to try and obey a list like that will only leave you frustrated in your service. Why? Because it's impossible to do it! We set ourselves up for failure when we assign ourselves a list of do's and don'ts. The real problem however is that the list becomes the object of our service, not Christ, then we risk not bearing any real eternal fruit at all, we're just busy doing things that appear to be building up the Kingdom of God. And we become weak and worn out and tired and we struggle and eventually we become burnt out in our service and we wonder why we don't have any joy or satisfaction as a Christian.
We can think we're doing the Lords work, but unless we are attached to the Vine, we can not bear fruit. Jhn 15:4 says... No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.
Think about this for a minute. If a branch is detached from the vine what happens to it? It withers and dies doesn't it? Oh, it's still a branch, but it's worthless, good for nothing. It can't bear fruit can it? The life source of the branch came from the vine, and now that it's been detached, well it dies and can no longer bear the fruit that it used to bear. It's not effective any more.
We as Christians can be the same way, unless we remain in Christ, He won't remain in us. Jhn 15:4 says "neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. We are worthless on our own to do anything for eternal Glory without remaining in Christ. It's a waste of our time. We'll only appear to be Godly, but actually we are doing nothing, we're fruitless where it really counts.
It's not about doing things well, it's not about being better, it's not about keeping up with a list of things to do. It's about remaining in Christ, Abiding in Christ!
Christ just wants us to live... yes live for Him. To sell out our soul to Him. When we give Jesus our heart and commit to live for him, we surrender ourselves to His will. It's in this surrender that God does whatever He wants through us to build and impact His Kingdom. If anything good happens, it's because of Christ working through us. If we bear fruit, it's not because we did something to bear fruit, we simply allowed fruit to bear by being attached to the vine. Fruit just happens by being a branch attached to the vine. The branch does absolutely nothing to produce fruit, it simply stay attached to the vine and from the vine come the nutrients to produce fruit. We are not called to produce fruit, we are simply called to bear fruit and there is a big difference between the two. To produce fruit means we work or do something to create it, but to bear fruit simply means we allows ourselves to be used and the fruit happens.
Jhn 15:5 says... If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.
So what is the secret to becoming a better Christian?
Give yourself as a sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ, turn over all your authority to Jesus, do this daily, do it all the time, and by doing this, Christ will remain in you and you will remain in Christ. Don't do it and you'll be doing things of yourself and it will amount to nothing to impact eternity.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
The word daily tell us that this denying of self will have to happen all the time, to take up our cross mean that we sacrifice our lives to Christ just as Christ sacrificed His life for us. If we can do this, we'll abide in Christ and the fruit we will bear will come as a result of allowing Him to live through us.
Simply put... Christ just wants us to LIVE, and through us as we LIVE, He produces the fruit and we bear it. If you are not sure if you are abiding in Christ, then you can do a self assessment test. Take a look at the next few verses. The fruit of the Spirit should be evident in our lives as a Christian, if it's not, then give yourself to Jesus, deny yourself and pick up your Cross and follow Him.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;Gal 5:20
idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factionsGal 5:21
and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.Gal 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,Gal 5:23
gentleness and self‑control. Against such things there is no law.Gal 5:24
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, help us to simply live for you. Help us to be less consumed with all the things we think we need to do to become more effective Christians and simply let you work though us to show yourself to others. May our lives bear Your fruit! In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus we pray. Amen