“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)
God speaks to each person as uniquely as He created us. Some of us are more emotional and therefore He uses more emotion when He wants to personalize something “just for us.” Others are more intellectual, or factual or realistic and God will then speak to each of those personality types according to the way they are created as well.
Last week, when I was a bit discouraged, God decided to use the analogies of plants, fruit and vines to cement some of His truths into my soul. After God reminded me through the use of the fruit Scripture that He is going to fulfill His purpose with or without me, but that He chooses to use me for fulfillment of some of His purpose, He continued on with the lesson.
Reading the above Scripture, He reminded me that apart from Him, I can do nothing! Not only is His purpose not about me, I am not strong enough to accomplish any of the goals He desires for me to complete without relying 100% on His strength. And that also is very freeing.
If I have to rely on myself and my strengths (gifts, talents), then I have a lot more pressure and a lot more responsibility and there is no time for resting. However, when I fully grasp that the success of the ministry/mission/purpose that God called me to during my lifetime relies on God’s strength, I realize that my first priority is to gather strength from the source – my Father.
How is the best way to do that? Relationship. First with God, my Father, and then with fellow believers. Always in that order too. Prayer, reading His Word (the Bible) and surrounding myself with people who will speak God’s life into me and maybe challenge me some to keep going when I feel like quitting or feel like the situation is hopeless. Replacing the lies of the enemy (“I can’t do it”, “This is hopeless,” “There is no way out”) with God’s Truth: “God will supply all (my) needs, Phil. 4:9 (NIV); and nothing takes God by surprise (Romans 8:29).
Without being attached to the vine who is Jesus, I (the branch) am useless. I slowly shrivel and die away. However, when I prepare ahead of time and fill up with God’s strength, I’m much more effective for the mission God has assigned me to accomplish. God knows that with His strength, I am not only prepared but I will be successful. Without His strength, I will quickly be overcome.
The choice is mine. Do I want to run around trying to accomplish things in my strength and find I’m quickly overcome and overwhelmed? Or do I want to contradict the world’s message and instead of working harder, start by getting on my knees and asking for God’s strength through prayer and His Word before even attempting to accomplish His mission? I’ve found in my own life, it’s much more peaceful to do it God’s way.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016