In John 15:5, Jesus says something about us that stings a little. He says, “…apart from me you can do nothing.”
Really? We can’t do a thing without Jesus? Yep. That’s what He says, and there is no interpretive slight of hand that can soften the blow. Jesus means what he says. We are absolutely dependent on Jesus Christ.
This means, somewhat counter intuitively, that the more we embrace our own dependency and rely on the one in whom we are dependent, the healthier and more fruitful we will be.
This is what Jesus means in John 15 with the word, abide. In John 15:1-11 Jesus uses the word “abide” no less than 10 times! It is easily the dominant theme of the passage.
This raises a question though. What does it mean to abide? Commenting on John 15 and the word abide, J.C. Ryle says,
“Abide in Me means cling to Me, stick fast to Me, live the life of close and intimate communion with Me, get nearer and nearer to Me, roll every burden on Me, cast your whole weight on Me, never let go your hold on Me even for a moment.”
As you can tell from Bishop Ryle’s words, the Christian is to live from a place of desperate dependence on His Savior. In fact, I would go so far to say that to the degree you live dependently on Christ, to that degree will you experience what God desires for you, namely, spiritual health, growth, and joy. If we desire to grow into the purpose of God for our lives, we simply must learn to live dependently on Jesus Christ.
Last week we began a series entitled, “Abiding in Christ: Three Essential Marks for Maturing Christians.” This series is aimed at unpacking the Bible’s teaching on spiritual maturity and giving you the tools you need to live dependently on Christ and grow in Christian maturity.
In this series, you will learn several specific things:
- How God’s love in Jesus Christ (i.e. the gospel) is the source of spiritual maturity.
- How God’s Word and prayer are the leading means in spiritual maturity.
- How obedience to God’s commands are the proof of our spiritual maturity.
- How God’s glory and joy in us is the aim of our spiritual maturity.
As our church takes this journey together for a few weeks, let me challenge you to not let this series of messages go by without giving serious consideration to your spiritual life. Trust me when I say God has rich treasures of truth and grace to give you as we walk together in Jesus Christ.
Are you ready to grow in spiritual maturity? Let’s go!