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DAY 1 – REMAIN IN ME
John 15:5 “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.
Jesus used an easily understood illustration when He explained how our relationship with the Lord works. The Vine (Jesus) supplies everything necessary to bear godly fruit through our lives. The branches (us) need only focus on one thing: remaining in the Vine. Our highest priority as followers of Jesus Christ is to remain in the Vine. Staying connected to Jesus is the only way for you and I to allow the Lord to produce godly fruit through us.
Please note that all spiritual fruit – all things accomplished that have everlasting value in the Kingdom of God – all fruit comes from the power, wisdom, and will of the Vine (Jesus). You and I are not called to try and produce everlasting, godly results in our own wisdom and strength. No, in fact, Jesus strictly forbids us from trying to accomplish God’s work in our own wisdom and strength when He says: “… apart from me you can do nothing.”
This profound statement makes two things apparent. First, even if we think we have done something “good” in life, if we have done it without directly depending on God’s power, our good deed will likely have no eternal consequence… apart from Me you can do nothing.
Second, our effectiveness as followers of Jesus depends completely on our willingness to remain in the Vine. None of us has the ability to produce godly fruit in our lives. Godly fruit is possible in our lives only when we remain connected to Jesus. We are not called to create our own ministries. We are not called to decide how to build Jesus’ church. No! We are called to stay connected to the Vine (Jesus). We depend on Jesus. He produces His fruit through us.
This truth leads us to an obvious question:
How do we remain in Jesus each and every day?
We remain in Christ by deliberately and diligently concentrating on developing our relationship with Him. We pray. We read and study His Word. We listen to His Holy Spirit in us. We obey. We make every effort possible to stay connected to Jesus.
We understand that if we allow ourselves to function without direct attachment to Jesus, we become fruitless. If we ignore our relationship with Jesus, if we don’t cultivate a closer walk with Him, we stop the flow of His power in our lives. We become dry and we wither on the vine.
So, we do whatever is necessary to stay connected to the Vine. Our lives are focused on seeking Jesus in prayer, in study, and in our actions. When we sin, we quickly repent and ask the Lord to forgive and restore us.
Just think, as you yield your life to Jesus in this way, His promise is to use your life to achieve things that will last for all eternity. If the Lord uses your life to bring someone to salvation in Christ, the fruit of your life will last forever! The love you demonstrate – even if it’s just offering a cup of water – can have eternal consequence. Wow! How good and powerful is our God!!!!
One of the main tools God has provided us to nurture our connection to Him is prayer. WHERE SHOULD YOU START???? RIGHT HERE: BECOME A PERSON OF PRAYER!
How do you become a person of prayer? Find a set time every day to pray. Make it a time when you are unlikely to be interrupted by the distractions of life. Establish that time in your daily life as your time alone with God – your prayer time. Turn off the television, the computer, the cell phones, the internet – your prayer time is your sacred time with the Lord. Your prayer time is a time to set aside in your schedule and to guard with a godly jealousy. Your maturity in Christ and your effectiveness as a servant of God depend on your prayer life. Jesus talked about it this way:
Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
A WARNING FOR YOU! The Bible tells us we have a spiritual enemy, namely the devil. There is nothing about your life the devil wants to defeat more than your prayer life. He knows the joy and life God will give you through your prayer time with Him. The devil understands that God will produce godly fruit in your life as you yield to the Lord in prayer.
SO BE READY! As you plan your daily prayer time, you may find obstacles and interruptions thrown in your path. It may seem like you’re being blocked from becoming a person of prayer by circumstances beyond your control. Don’t be discouraged! Be determined! Even if you miss your prayer time once or twice, don’t give up. Continue to pursue your daily prayer time with the Lord. STAY CONNECTED! The Lord will bless your life abundantly for this one simple act of obedience.
We have a lot more to say about prayer in the coming days. But your assignment today is to schedule and begin a daily prayer time with Jesus. Keep in mind, it is better to start small and be consistent than it is to set a goal that is unrealistic and quit. In other words, setting a goal of spending five minutes a day in prayer and being consistent in it is better than setting a goal of spending one hour a day in prayer and giving up after a few days. You may find the amount of time you spend in prayer increases as the Lord leads you. But as you begin, consistency is more important than duration. So don’t be afraid to start small. The main thing is to develop the habit of daily time alone with Jesus in prayer.
- What is your highest priority as a follower of Jesus Christ?
- What is the first new habit to develop in your life to stay connected to Jesus?
- What time is your daily prayer time scheduled for?
- What will you do if the enemy tries to stop your prayer time?
- How many days per week should you nurture your connection to the Vine through prayer?
Take a few moments and pray. Ask the Lord to help you establish a consistent daily time of prayer as a new habit in your life. Ask Him to give you the strength to stay connected to Him so that He can produce His fruit through your life. Tell Him what time you plan on meeting with Him privately each day. Thank Him for loving you!