John 15:5 “. . . apart from me you can do nothing.”
Do you know why you exist? Why did God put you on the earth? Do you realize that you have a divinely ordained purpose? According to the Bible, God created each and every one of us to bring glory to Himself (Isaiah 43:7). In John 15, Jesus spoke about the Father planting a grape vine on which there are both fruitful and unfruitful branches. He then explains that, in this account, the vine is Jesus himself. The fruitful branches are believing Christians that are vitally connected to Him and produce fruit to the glory of God. The unfruitful branches are those, who like the fruitful branches, are sustained and given life by Him, yet produce nothing of value in God’s eyes, and who are eventually removed from the vine and burned.
In the context of this passage, the verse above can mean two things. Apart from Christ, who sustains every person’s life, we can’t do anything PHYSICAL. We can’t even breathe unless He continues to give us air and keep our lungs functioning. However, beyond this, no one can do anything FRUITFUL SPIRITUALLY apart from Him, i.e., without a connection to Him.
The connection between the vine and the branches in John 15 is love, i.e., God’s love for us, and our love for Him (John 15:9-11). Every branch (person) is loved by God in the sense that the food they eat, the water they drink, the rain that falls on the earth to produce food for them, and anything else good in their lives comes to them graciously from God (James 1:17). However, unless there is a reciprocal love of the believer for the vine (i.e., Christ), that person will never produce anything of value from God’s perspective, and in the end, they will be like “chaff that the wind blows away (Psalm 1).”
One can go through life, make decisions, and do the things they do without any connection to God – with no love for God. Their motives are something other than love for Him, be it to make money, to please themselves, to have fun, whatever, and it is with these perspectives they raise their kids, work at their jobs, think whatever they think, do whatever they do, and say whatever they say. But in the end, if this is true for them, their lives, according to the Bible, will be a total and complete waste. However, if they love God with all their heart, and if the things they do, say, and think are all motivated by that love, in the end they will hear “well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:23)” for they will have lived a life vitally connected to Him, rather than “apart from him,” as declared by Jesus in John 15:5 above.
What about you and what about me? Are we living to glorify God, producing fruit to His glory, and fulfilling God’s purpose for us? Do we love Him? Is that what’s motivating us today and every day? If so, in the end we will hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” On the other hand, if we are living for any other reason whatsoever, Jesus warns us that in the end our works will be “burned up (I Corinthians 3:15)” and we may even hear “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:23).”
May God help us to bear fruit to the glory of His holy name.
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