It’s as if Jesus is saying to His disciples, “Look guys, get it through your thick heads, it’s not about you it’s all about me.” When we act independent of the vine we become fruitless Christians. But when we live out our “Declaration of Dependence” then we become believers who flourish and reproduce in abundance.
What are some signs that we are acting independently of Jesus?
When little time or attention is given to prayer – Most of us say that we believe in prayer but do not actually spend much time praying. And especially we do not spend much time praying bold, robust prayers that implore God to move in power. Much of our praying has to do with asking God to bless things that we have already decided to do.
When His Word becomes a secondary source of spiritual refreshment rather than primary – We need to allow God’s Word to feed our souls. We need to learn how to read and ponder and digest Scripture. Books and devotionals are great tools to use but don’t let them take the place of the life-giving, soul-refreshing Word of God.
When we neglect to be a part of an encouraging, gospel-centered community – By this I do NOT mean going to church. Rather, I mean being a part of a vital small group that is encouraging, challenging, caring for, and loving one another. When we divorce ourselves from such a group we are essentially saying “I don’t need the body of Christ. I can survive on my own.” Survive, maybe. Thrive, no way! We need other people in our lives lest we start veering away from the truth – which is easy to do in a world that has dulled our spiritual senses and is constantly lulling into a spiritual stupor.
When we make decisions because we “felt led” rather than being Spirit led – We have a tendency to let our emotions drive our decision making. We have been told over and over again, “just follow your heart.” The problem, of course, is that according to Scripture “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9) Therefore, we need to make sure that we are being led by the Spirit of God or else we run the great risk of making horrific decisions that could have tragic consequences. (Click HERE for an article on how to be guided by the Spirit of God)
If you are not being fruitful in your walk with God then perhaps you need to review your “Declaration of Dependence.” The things mentioned above can serve as some thinking points to help you evaluate just how dependent or independent you are as you seek to “remain in the vine.”