“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. . . . Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-2, 5 ESV
I wrote a few months back about the bad advice of “following your heart” and the frustration I feltat Christians’ tendency to adopt these little philosophies even though they go against truths of Scripture. Judging by the main messages of the most popular Christian teachers at this time, the problem is that we have confused the Gospel of Jesus Christ with an inspirational self-help program. And the entire point of this Gospel is that we cannot help ourselves at all.
Have you ever tried to change yourself and struggled to do so? Couldn’t stick to your diet? Told the secret of a friend when you promised to keep it? Let a curse word fly after you vowed to clean up your speech?
Or maybe you went to bed in tears one night after clearing your browser history for the hundredth time. Maybe you went out to a party to keep an eye on your friends, but you ended up drinking too much and couldn’t un-tag yourself fast enough from the next day’s scandalous Instagram photos? Maybe you have trouble keeping track of how many time you have backslidden within the past year or so. The list goes on with any number of variations.
Let’s face it. We are so very depraved. And if we could look at ourselves and the mess that is, human life, and rightfully say, “I got this,” there wouldn’t be a need for a gracious and powerful Savior. We treat Jesus like He’s merely a helping hand and not our ultimate Rescuer and Redeemer from that which we really don’t “got it” after all. We are entirely dependent on Him. He is the only hope we have.
Only God truly knows the extent to which I’m realizing just how much I desperately need Jesus if I want to have hope of deliverance from my hardships and shortcomings. Of course we need to be active, deliberate, and persistent in the journey of sanctification. But let’s not forget Who is truly responsible for the victory.
Father, remind me that only Jesus can save me and that I cannot save myself. Reveal to me what the gospel truly is. Help me to be discerning when comparing the world’s advice to Your truth. Show me my need for You and humble me when I forget it, in Jesus’ name.
Are you ever tempted to try and fix yourself? Can you pinpoint some times when you failed to do accomplish it, either at all or consistently enough? In what areas do you see your need for Christ’s transforming power the most?