Joh 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
(32) and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
For years as a young Christian I believed that in order to be a good Christian I needed to bear fruit. I would try very hard to produce lasting fruit and would get burned out, tired of trying, and eventually give up all together. Only to get some rest and try all over again. I was bound by the expectation that I was supposed to make disciples, live a good clean life, stop sinning etc. It made for a very challenging Christian walk... It was all about me performing in such a way that I pleased God and he would then be accepting of me. When I found myself returning to habitual sins I would try to cover them up. "Good Christians wouldn't do such a thing so I better not let anyone know," I would think to myself. Until one day I finally had enough.
So, what changed? I heard a message of grace. I learned that Christ came to set me free from performance Christianity and called me to rest in Him. To simply abide... So I did just that. Rather than trying to do good works for God, I simply began to rest in Christ. I poured over His Word and discovered so many wonderful truths that brought me peace and comfort in my walk with Him.
Joh 15:4 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.
I discovered that the fruit of discipleship came from my abiding in Him, not my doing good works for Him. What I did for Christ came from my love for Him and my abidance in His word, not through good works or my own effort.
Today and every day I long for His Word. To simply rest in Him and find freedom from the sin that entangles us. To know that He is the one who produces fruit in my life. Apart from Christ I can do nothing. But when I abide in Christ I can do all He has called me to do. When I came to the understanding that a branch can not bear fruit on its own I was finally set free from the burden I placed on myself to be a good Christian and do a lot of good things for God.
If you can relate to this post, then today I encourage you to quit trying so hard... to stop performing for Christ and simply rest in Him.