Bearing a Fruitless Work in Self, Bearing All in the Vine

Are there things in your life you feel are out of control? Do these questions come to mind: Does God really care? Does God love me? Does God understand me? Does God have my best in mind? Because of my naturally fearful flesh, these are questions I am tempted to answer “no” to every day. I often think that I am the best one to understand me, that I have my best in mind, and that I am the only one who knows how to love me better than anyone else. So, when I have finished doing all of my Christian responsibilities I feel more in control and secure. However, when responsibilities or situations get too difficult, then its time to go to God.
“Lord, I pray that You would help me to do___.” Many times I find myself praying this prayer. A cry of despair and a real need for help from God. But, most of those times, I regret to say that those prayers were prayed after a long period of self-effort attempts to live the Christian life. A Christ-less mindset bearing a fruitless work. Reading the first few chapters of Jerry Bridges’, “True Community,” my eyes have been exposed to this lifestyle open in its raw form. My countless efforts to be God in my life are worth nothing.

Are there times when I do live righteously and honestly desire God, even in my self-effort? No, because without God’s enablement, I can do nothing. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are you saved by faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” This means that my salvation and any good or righteous thing I do is from God. I am His child. What an awesome thought, that I can rest in the fact that I am a sinner and can do no good, so I need Christ. Therefore any good that comes from me is because I am in Christ. I am ever fixed in the Vine, who is Christ. Christ, who bears all fruit of righteousness, flows through me. I can, in fact, do this life, not because of anything I do, but because He lives in me. So, “Lord, I pray You will enable me to do ___ because Christ lives in me.”

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