John 15:5 (NLT)
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
I’ve been reading a book as of late about Jonathan Edwards for a religion class. Although it is an understatement, I will say it is an interesting read. Amid the theological battles he fought and the massive amount of writing and preaching he engaged in during the Great Awakening, he had a keen awareness to his human helplessness. He aimed to live faithfully under and with God’s power. To this extent, in his diary, he wrote his Resolutions — things he resolved to do, thoughts he resolved to think, behavior he resolved to display. He prefaced his Resolutions with the phrase: “I am unable to do anything without God’s help.”
Well, aren’t we all?
With all his talent and education, if Jonathan Edwards was humble enough to realize his nothingness and helplessness without God as the center of his life, shouldn’t we also acknowledge the same thing? Jesus tells us that we will produce much fruit in life only if we choose to live in Christ and submit to His power. Sure, we can attempt to do things in our own power, but our power is limited. Therefore, the little bit of success or achievement we might gain cannot be sustained.
Without surrender to God’s will, we cannot experience His power in our lives. Being separated from Christ’s power, we cannot do anything of any worth. A life complete in Christ and relished in God’s glory and strength is arguably the better life to live. It is necessary to live in Christ and find our peace and purpose in Him. Being outside of Christ limits our possibilities and sustained good results. Being in Christ and opening our hearts to allow Him to be in us is not just freedom, it is a necessary relationship and connection to become fruitful.
Without God’s help, we are helpless. Without God’s power in our lives, we are powerless. Without God’s blessings, we cannot expect to experience any long-lasting and deep success and benefit. We have been gifted with life by the Creator. Is it any wonder that we should strive to seek His face and His aid in life. Life is meaningless without God. Success is insignificant without God’s providence. Living by faith is necessary to abiding in grace and cultivating any goodness in our lives.
In order to be fruitful — successful, productive, effective — in this life, it is important that we strive to abide in Christ. Helpless without God, we are implored to let Him take our hand in His and guide us all the way. Abiding in Christ requires surrender. Surrender leads to trust beyond borders and faith without sight. Trust and faith lead us to embrace the painfully honest realization that we cannot do anything without God, but with Him, we are unstoppable and undefeated.
“I am unable to do anything without God’s help.”
— Jonathan Edwards