So a newfound brother shared about four months ago now a statement that shook me up and continues to. Minister Nate exposited one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture:
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. – John 15
Nate’s simple phrase that I keep repeating as a mantra and reminder: “I did too much.” Unless we abide in Christ and allow Him to live through us, we do too much.
When you google “I did too much” (don’t try it), you get images of drugs, pictures of drunks, gluttons and more. We often thing of doing too much …. something, as if the statement needs some sort of direct object. But it really doesn’t. As Nate shared, we can simply “do too much.” I think that’s what ate away at me and continues to. I think too much, I do things myself too much (and not delegate), I criticize too much, I sleep too much, I’m selfish too much, and the list goes on. But instead of thinking of the direct objects of our failure, it is simply “doing too much.” We take ownership instead of letting God own us. In the midst of a individualistic and self-idolizing culture, we find ourselves worshiping ourselves as much as the next person, discovering that we do too much, period.
We need to allow Christ to reign through us & “live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us.” What does that look like? I think it starts with abiding in Christ, as John 15 says above. And when we do we find ourselves thinking Christ-preeminently. Our responses go through the lens of the Spirit of God living inside of us before our natural fleshly reactions.
…”for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30