“Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. 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.” John 15:4, 5 (NIV)
Trying to become spiritually fit apart from a spiritual life is like a branch producing fruit apart from being connected to the vine. There’s no life in it, and it cannot produce a thing. The first step toward spiritual fitness is to make sure you are connected to the source of spiritual life—Jesus Christ. Only He has the power to change your life. New Year’s resolutions, willpower, even Bible study and church attendance are not enough. You cannot reproduce the character of Jesus in your own strength. You need Jesus in you to do that!
Branches that are connected to the vine don’t have to try to produce fruit; they simply bear the fruit that the vine produces. Your job is not to produce anything, but to “remain in Him!” The responsibility to make things happen isn’t yours; it is God’s. Trying to behave a certain way, because we think that’s what we should do, is like tying plastic apples on an apple tree. It’s artificial fruit. Real fruit, “much fruit,” comes from abiding or remaining in Christ!
You can relax from striving to produce fruit. Instead, press into an intimate personal relationship with Christ by spending time alone with God daily, reading the Bible and doing what He’s telling you to do. Make weekly worship at church a spiritual habit. You’ll be amazed at the fruit He will produce in your life!
- If you’ve never made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, you may want to pray this prayer:
Oh God, I have tried so hard in my own strength to please You and to do Your will. Thank You, for not leaving it up to me. I invite You into my heart as my Lord and Savior. Forgive me for my pride in thinking I can live my life apart from You. I receive You today. Change me from the inside out, and make my life fruitful as I remain in You.
- If Jesus Christ is already your personal Lord and Savior, you may want to pray this prayer:
Father, thank You for reminding me that You are my life and, apart from You, I can do nothing. Forgive me for trying to live the Christian life in my own strength. I try and fail so often. Teach me to rest in You today, to trust You to produce in me the character of Jesus. Help me to remain in You today in my thoughts, my conversation and all my relationships. Thank You for Your promise that You will make my life fruitful as I remain in You.