Abiding in Christ is the most vital place a believer can find themselves. The Word picture Jesus uses in John 15 is the Vine and branches. What is the Vine dresser’s goal for the Vine (branches)? That the vine/branches bear more fruit. However, the danger in bearing more fruit, for the sake of bearing fruit can lead to self-contentment or self-sufficiency. As true branches we must guard against being fruitful for our glory, or we could end up as a dead limb.
The Vine dresser (God the Father) also “prunes” the Vine’s branches by cutting back, excess, old wood and excess shoots from branch to make it healthier. The function of pruning is to help the branch deepen its dependence on the vine and bear more fruit. The Vine dresser’s pruning knife is the Word of God. How did the Word (Christ) prune the disciples (branches) for growth? He taught them by example, walked alongside them, preparing them for the Spirit to fill them, and to empower them for their journey of bearing more fruit.
Abiding in Christ and pruning is accomplished for God’s glory. Hebrews 4:12 states, “the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing to the division of Soul and Spirit of the joints and marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Surrender is defined as yielding to the power of another, to submit possession of one-self. God calls us to absolute surrender to Him. Because God is our Holy Creator and Redeemer He deserves nothing less than absolute surrender. As believers, there can be no half-hearted attempts at following Christ. Jesus taught His disciples that they must abandon “all” and follow Him. He told the rich young ruler to sell “all” he had and follow Him. (Matthew 16:25, Luke 18:18-23)
When theologian & author Andrew Murray asked a fellow pastor “what is the great need of the Church?”, the answer was, “absolute surrender was the one thing.” (Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray) The term absolute consists of giving everything for one cause, and upon completion having nothing left to give. Is this the cry of your heart? Absolute surrender to the will of God will revolutionize your prayer life, your devotional life and your walk with Christ.
Surrender is different than commitment. With commitment, you have a tendency to use your willpower to accomplish a task. Commitment is about you. Asolute surrender is about God and His will and power. One example of this is the subject of breakfast with the chicken and the pig. The chicken is committed and produces an egg. The pig absolutely surrenders and produces bacon.
What are you devoted to? Most of us have a handful of things we spend our time and energy on. Where does prayer fit into your spiritual life? Sadly, I know in my life, prayer often becomes a last resort instead of a first priority. I believe if we are to see spiritual awakening in our Land and revival in our church, prayer must become a central priority in our lives. Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. We have that prayer recorded in Matthew 6. The outline of the ACTS of Prayer is a great way to specifically remember key points on prayer and how to pray effectively. God desires to hear our prayers and He longs to answer them according to His will.
Adoration: Praising God for WHO He is!! (Psalm 31:23-24)
Confession: Confessing our need for His forgiveness, love and cleansing! (1 John1:9)
Thanksgiving: Thankful for God’s provisions! (Psalm 100:4-5)
Supplication: Praying for Others! (1Timothy 2:1)