If I work harder, show I can do what they said I didn’t and couldn’t do, then I’ll prove them wrong. If I hunker down and give it my all, then they’ll accept me, like me, be impressed with me.
Wrong. That If I strategy failed over and over again. Oh, I showed them. However, instead of drawing me closer to others, the gap widened, leaving me isolated.
I didn’t want to show anyone my weaknesses. Certainly, I didn’t want to rely on their help. Their admiration would come after I did it on my own.
Not surprisingly, I used the If I technique in my relationship with God too. If I dazzle God with what I accomplish for His Kingdom, He’ll love me more.
I set off to show God my value, checking Him off my to-do list and leaving Him behind on my desk. Needless to say, the fruit I cultivated-pride, selfishness, and judgment- was sour and small.
If I Depend on God I Have All I Need
Because God truly loves me, He didn’t abandon me. Instead, He used those experiences to turn me to Him. When the results I longed for didn’t materialize, instead of leaving God on my desk, I began to let His Words penetrate the hard soil of my heart.
As I continued my walk along the lakeshore, I noticed grape vines growing, laced through the Ponderosa pines. Among the leaves were tiny clusters of grapes, completely dependent on the vine to grow to maturity. I need to depend on God, not myself. Everything I need comes not from my own ability and determination, but from God’s power, love, and goodness.
If I Abide in Christ I Bear Good Fruit
John 15:4-5 (ESV)
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Good, sweet fruit that others want doesn’t come from me. All I have to offer is selfishness, pride, and judgment. No one needs that. They desire the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22 ESV).
No one needed my perfection. If I stop striving to be better and prove myself, showing my own needs, then God could use me.
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