Sometimes the Bible throws hard and terrifying truths right in our face. As is the case for John 15 when Jesus is laying down some last minute truths for his disciples.
In week one of this series we talked about how we can be close to God because he’s always there, he always loves, and he wants relationship with us. So this week we talked about our role in the relationship. We looked at John 15 where Jesus is telling his disciples that he is the vine and they are branches. That the key to continue doing the things of God will be to stay close. And how do we stay close? By obeying his commands.
That’s a pretty simple equation. If we want to be close to Jesus, we must only follow his commands. Will we fail? Yes. Will we mess up? Yes. Will we possibly have seasons of great sin and struggle? Probably. But part of following his commands is coming to him for forgiveness in our deepest and darkest sin and struggle and he is faithful to forgive and love deeply.
With that, we see our role in the relationship. But it’s terrifying. Because in the same chapter Jesus talks about pruning the branches. Which isn’t a fun process. It means the cutting off and getting rid of the things we may love that may not be focused on God. Jesus says the closer we get to the vine the more we will want to bear Godly fruit but the more of our own lives we will lose. It is a struggle. It is relationship.
Those of us in any successful relationship know that it’s not always pretty. It’s mostly hard and struggle and tension but it ends in something beautiful. It is a pretty struggle.
So, if we want to be close to God in 2016 we need to follow his commands. When we follow Jesus, we become more like him and we bear his fruit. We lose ourselves in the midst of it and we find relationship with Jesus that is hard, that is struggle, that is beautiful.
Let us push past our fears straight into the unknown of following Jesus closely.