Tarzan, the ape-man of the jungle, performed all his feats of strength and bravery by clinging to an intricate system of vines. He swung from the west side to the upper east side of the jungle at will. No lights. No traffic jams. Saving damsels in distress, foiling poachers, saving animals, catching bad guys. All his good works (his purpose in life) made possible because Tarzan knew the importance of clinging to the vine.
Jesus knows how important it is that we cling to The Vine if we’re going to live our lives in God’s will.
Many good-meaning Christians still believe that for God to accept them, they must behave a certain way, do certain things, and be good. They believe we must read the Bible every day, pray every day, and serve the Lord with good works. On the “Can’t” side of the ledger they believe they can’t sin, can’t smoke, can’t drink, can’t cuss, can’t criticize others, can’t gossip, can’t envy, can’t commit adultery, can’t lie, can’t kill and a whole bunch of other cants. They think, if they do any of those things they will fall out of favor with God. (Paul addresses all those sins in Romans 7.)
The Bible teaches that nothing could be further from the truth. The very last lesson Jesus taught his disciples before He they led him to Golgotha to be crucified was about clinging to The Vine. Jesus said in John 15:5-8, “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.”
What do branches do? Do they produce fruit? No. They do nothing. They cling to the vine. That’s it. When they cling to the vine, Jesus life pours through them from The Vine, through the branches, out to the twigs and leaves and produces fruit. The branches are merely vessels. Clinging to the vine and allowing Jesus life to flow through them. Jesus gives life and bears fruit, but only if the branches remain clinging to the vine.
Apart from clinging to the vine, so Jesus can do His work us, we can do nothing of significance. If we try to break away from The Vine and do stuff on our own, it will amount to nothing.
Are you working hard to be a good Christian (by the way, there’s no such thing as a good Christian)? Are you feeding your Martha complex? Relax. Stop trying and start trusting. All Jesus asks us to do is cling to the vine and let Him do His work through us.