The Most Important Thing
John 15:5 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.
Depending on which appetite I am afflicted by at the moment, I am often of a singular mind. I pursue that which I am hungry for, whether it is a donut or some other appetite of the flesh. I often forget everything else until I satisfy that appetite. I know I can stay focused on a goal. I prove it to myself every day. Why then, do I have difficulty pursuing and staying connected to God?
I wrote yesterday of letting go of that which causes me destruction. I was speaking specifically of my drug addiction, but one would be a fool to think that I am now free from all defects. My flesh nature does not tolerate a vacuum. Where one defect was starved, ten more have taken its place. I still get angry in traffic, and I still swear (under my breath) at those driving slow in front of me. I snap at my family when short-tempered and I eat too much. I still have destructive defects.
This can be maddening until I realize that it is my need that motivates me to cling to God. Jesus said in today’s passage that I must remain or abide in him as a branch remains attached to a vine. It is only when I remain attached to Christ that his spirit life flows through me. In pursuing me and turning from him, I abandon my source of life, purpose and meaning.
My continual need then, can be a useful thing when it motivates me to continually stay connected to God. Apart from him, I can do nothing. Apart from him, my spirit life withers and my flesh life grows.
When Jesus said I can do nothing apart from him, He did not mean that I cease to exist when I do not follow him. I can of course, do something. I may even do some good things. It is certainly possible for one to stop drinking or using without pursuing God.
Without keeping myself attached to God though, nothing else really matters. I may find sobriety, but if I am still following me, I am not living the life I was meant to live. Personal improvement by itself is meaningless without God. God is the reason Christ saved me from myself. If I am only in this for self-improvement, then I am missing the point. Abiding in God is everything that matters. It is the most important thing in life.
I was created by God to live in communion with him and it is only in this context that I am truly fulfilled. I either live for God, or I live for me. Those are really my only two options. Living for self can look good, but if I do not stay attached to Christ, then even the most noble purpose I may strive for, lacks meaning.
This works both ways. If I remain in him, even the mundane becomes sacred. I can go about my day, performing the most boring of duties and still be connected to God, making that day far from pointless.
It is my one job, to abide continually in God. If my defects cause me to see my need for that, then I will use my defects to continually turn me to him.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.