My son sat at the breakfast table shivering in his seat.
With a pained expression he glanced up at my husband and me and exclaimed through chattering teeth, “I’m so cold!” My husband’s initial response was to turn up the heat, but as he looked at the table he noticed my son’s sweatshirt sitting right in front of him.
He patiently inquired, “Is there a reason you haven’t put your sweatshirt on if you’re so cold?” With a sheepish look on his face, our son slowly unbunched his sweatshirt (which had been moonlighting as a pillow) and found himself much more comfortable after putting on the item specifically designed to bring him warmth.
The very thing my son needed most was right before him. The lesson my son learned that day is similar to the lesson that keeps repeating in my spiritual life. Many days I find myself weary and worn, observing the overflow of discontentment, apathy, unkindness, or anger in my heart. And I wonder: Why am I so cold spiritually? How can the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) be more evident in my life?
In John 15, Jesus provides insight both into the cause of our spiritual dryness and the solution for living a fruit bearing life:As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 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. – John 15:4-5
Spiritual vitality is found only in Jesus. When we spend our days thinking we can do life on our own, running from activity to activity, and working harder and harder to impress others, the natural result of our independence will be a dry and withered branch. Impatience, unfaithfulness, unkindness, and a lack of peace are signs of our self-reliance.
In contrast, as we abide in Jesus through His word, prayer and His people, we find ourselves spiritually refreshed and renewed. Jesus provides nourishment, the Father faithfully prunes the vine, and the Spirit works within us to bear fruit. All that we need for a fruitful life is right before us. We are simply called to put on Christ, trusting that He will warm our hearts as we abide in Him.
This article first appeared in Interface the PCA Women’s Ministry Newsletter in anticipation of the Upcoming Leadership Conference. The theme is Vitally Connected to Christ, His Word & His Church. For more information about the conference, click here. I would love to visit with you there!