“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).
It is in Jesus’ message from the vineyard that He makes this analogy about life. For a branch to bear fruit, it must be connected to the vine; likewise, for a person to bear fruit as a Christian, he or she must be connected to Christ, the spiritual vine.
Without Christ as our spiritual plant, we are left to our own resources—that is, we bear the full responsibility for the success or failure of our venture. With our connection to Christ, we have the spiritual food we need in His word to encourage us and to guide us so that we can be successful, if it is His will.
This teaching should give us the impetus we need to stay connected to Christ, to follow His instruction so that we can mature as His child, and to stay the course with Him so that we can ultimately receive the crown of life.
“For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.
“For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.
“But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel” (Philippians 2:20-22).
Reputation is what people think about us; character is what we really are. In writing this letter of recommendation to the Philippian church, Paul extols both about the young preacher Timothy.
Paul knows the “proven” character of this young man; and, evidently, those in the Philippian church do, too. Paul knows of no one he can send to them who will be any more concerned about their spiritual welfare than Timothy.
To have such a genuine character and to have such a sterling reputation should be the goal of every child of God. When we have these qualities, we can be assured that we can make a positive contribution to the Cause of Christ and that we are living the kind of life that will steer us toward heaven.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11.33).
Paul is attempting to make the Romans see they are serving an all-powerful God whose nature, intellect, decisions, and attitudes are so far above man’s that they are not even comparable.
As humans, we want to reason through every situation, trying to make everything understandable logically according to our own ability to reason and according to our own experiences. Such reasoning, simply put, will not work.
Attempting to understand every aspect about God is a futile exercise. God is divine—we are human. Our finite minds cannot comprehend everything about Him because we think differently; nor can we understand fully all of His reasons for dealing with mankind as He has.
Consequently, we should allow our faith to accept God and His ways as the very best that could happen. And, most importantly, we should take great comfort in knowing that we know everything we need to know to get us to heaven.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Moses has been repeating God’s law to the people and has been telling them how angry God has been because of their failure to obey His law—specifically, they had gone into idolatry. This passage is really Moses’ farewell message to the Jews, and he addresses it to the new generation that is about to possess the land toward which they have traveled for forty years.
The message of this passage is that they should focus on the instructions God has given them in His law and not worry about things He has not revealed. They know all they need to know in order to please God.
This lesson rings true with every generation. As human beings, we have curiosity about everything, especially about things that our finite minds have difficulty understanding. The truth is we have been given everything we need to know to attain salvation—and that’s all we need to know.