John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Galatians 4:1-7 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a servant, though he is master of all; But is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, To redeem those that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
February 9, 1980 … I walked up to Zig Ziglar and asked him to sign his book for me. “Why sure Bob” Zig replied as he wrote: “Bob, See you at the top … Your friend, Zig Ziglar John 15:5.” As an unbeliever, I thought this was kind of different that he would quote a Bible verse, but when I got home, I was determined to find out what it meant. I asked my wife Cheryl; “do we have a Bible in the house?” She said yes, and went to find the Bible that my sister had given us a few years earlier on Christmas. I stumbled through the pages until I came to the book of John and there, I found it ... John 15:5. I read the verse out loud and asked Cheryl: “do you have any idea what this means?” “No … she replied.” I laughingly said; “it’s Greek to me” and went about my day. If only I had been wise enough to really understand the meaning and power of those words more quickly, I can only wonder how much more God would have accomplished with my life. Here was the key to my walk with Christ and it flew right over my head. So much worry, pain, loss, and struggle could have been avoided. But then many Christians live their entire lives and never come to understand the application of God's truth, so I guess my foolishness is a trait, common to man. The root of the problem could be summed up in the statement “that’s the way I’ve always done it”. Our mind has been programmed with knowledge that might be true in our human way of getting things done, but God’s ways are not man’s ways, which is why we need to transform our thinking by the renewing of our minds. In my last post, I stressed that we needed to reckon our justification and our established position in Christ, as heirs and sons, in God’s heavenly family. To repeat: Romans 3:28 calls upon us to reckon or “count as true” the fact that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. To be justified means: “to be free of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin.” This is a key step in your spiritual growth. Without renewing your mind with this truth, the danger is that your old truth will continue to guide your daily activities and lead to your frustration and failure and the same worry, pain, loss, and struggle I mentioned above. So have you sat down and reckoned these truths? Don't you think it would be a good idea to stop and DO IT NOW!
One more thing, not wanting to leave a long story that has a happy ending, dangling ... eight months later, Zig Ziglar led me to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. My life has never been the same.
So that begs the question: “What is the old truth that I need to replace with the new truth?” I’m glad you asked. The old truth is the thinking that you are not acceptable, just as you are. And that you need to serve your way to salvation. Sorry to say, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change your old nature or work your way free of your old ways or their consequences. That’s the bad news. Christ paid for all of your sins, past, present and future, on the cross at Calvary. When you receive his free gift, you are forgiven and accepted into His eternal family.That is the good news. Performance and reward is so ingrained into our brain that our internal auto –pilot is apt to take over at any moment … leading us into an attempt to improve our condition … so that we will be acceptable, in the old way … like in school or at work, by doing good. It is futile as Paul clearly explains in Romans 7. The problem is that service will never qualify you or me. Our mind is constantly searching for acceptance and approval in the old way. We must transform this old thinking. Do not make the mistake of depending upon your condition, rather than your position for your acceptance. It is natural for our old ways to direct us to be producers (law) rather than receivers (grace). When service takes over as your driving force, even Bible study and prayer can become service-centered activity rather than resting in and trusting Christ, our salvation. We need to transition to a “being” and from a “doing” mentality. When we are following the Holy Spirit, He will let us know what to do, and when to do it. We are to be sons, not servants. Galatians 4:6 “Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Read Galatians above
The problem is that when we try to put on spirituality rather than resting in Christ and being transformed by the leading of the Holy Spirit, is that self effort produces the works of the flesh. Gal 5:19-21. Even at the most subtle level, our pride takes over and before you know it, someone like me gets all puffed up over the wisdom written on their blog, when in reality, I am just a dog … along for the ride.
“To abide in Christ and receive God’s love while unworthy, is the believer’s positional privilege and responsibility. God’s love functions according to its nature, not according to the quality of its object. Freedom from the dominion of self gives us a deepening rest in the Lord Jesus; we become rooted and grounded in the Source of Life, where we grow effortlessly and Godly fruit is born to His glory.” Miles J. Stanford
Abiding and resting in Christ brings the true fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me, you can do nothing. John 15:5 When Jesus instructs us to abide in Him, he means for us to abide or rest in our position in him. Some would say that if fruit is not visible in one’s life … that this is evidence that the person is not a Christian. I say that “no fruit” is evidence that just like the sons and heirs Paul describes in Galatians 4 above … these unfruitful believers are babes in Christ and are not yet abiding or resting in Christ… to their obvious disadvantage. Additionally, much of what we would see as fruit from our human perspective would not likely qualify as fruit at all, from God’s perspective. We are likely to be confused, especially if we are given to judging others. “For Christ’s love compels us" ... How, you ask? … "so from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” 2 Corinthians” 5:14,16.
Stay focused ... that's a Paradox Principle.
Jesus has defeated the world and every challenge that we can ever come up against. Only when we venture out on our own, do we fail: “when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Mathew 14:29-31
God Bless you my friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ as Savior