Remain

JHN 15:5-6 NIV

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Jesus is the vine. Source of life. There are only two options: attached or not. No “kind of” attached. If you’re in, you bear fruit. If not, you do nothing; you wither and die, and get tossed in the fire.

Sometimes it is very hard to follow Jesus. Sometimes it’s harder because I’m doing it on my own instead of remaining (abiding, living) in Christ. No matter how hard it is, it’s possible and doable with Him. And it is entirely futile and useless without Him.

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How to Please God

HEB 13:15-16 NIV

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Observation
Sacrifices God wants from us: praise/lips that profess his name; do good; share with others. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these the things are enough to take up the majority of one’s free time… Openly professing his name and givig praise is a sacrifice. Doing good and being generous are sacrifices. And these things please God. Moreover, all of these things are done through Jesus. Not on our own.

Application
So as I am in Christ, I praise him. As I grow in Christ, I sacrifice my pride for the humility of exalting him. I openly profess his name whether it gives me favor or gets me persecution from others. I do good through Christ, as I begin to see people through the eyes of my King, and this is a sacrifice. And generosity… To give up my own things, money, comfort, and give them away to another is a sacrifice that is rarely easy but always rewarding. All of these things, things I want to do, things I want to be said of my life, they come through Jesus. It is not my strength to do these things but his. Not my will, but his. As John the baptizer said, “I must decrease and he must increase.”

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