Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
September 10, 2017
The power is in the connection
Before going to bed at night, I plug a charger cord into my IPhone. The next morning it is fully charged. I take it in the kitchen and lay it on the counter while making coffee. Then, with coffee in hand, I check my messages.
One recent morning I was surprised to discover my phone was dead. Zero charge. At first I thought the phone had malfunctioned. Then I looked behind the night table and discovered the charger was not plugged into the wall socket.
There is an important life lesson in this scenario. The charger cord looked good. Nothing about its appearance suggested it had no power but the cord had no way to charge my phone without being plugged into the electrical outlet in the wall. Unconnected, the charger had no power.
The spiritual lesson is obvious. What immediately comes to mind are the striking words of Jesus: “apart from me you can do nothing.” What strong words! One might say that was an arrogant statement for Jesus to make. It does seem so at first glance.
So it is important to examine the context of this seemingly egotistic assertion. We find it in the 15th chapter of the Gospel of John where Jesus is explaining to his disciples that he is “the true vine” and his disciples are “the branches.”
This is what Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
In the context of that analogy, it is certainly true that a branch has no life unless it remains connected to the vine. But Jesus is speaking about himself. That raises the question: Is Jesus actually that important? Is he truly the Source of life? Each of us must face that question and come up with an answer.
If the words of Jesus are fanciful, it matters not if we ignore them. But if what he said is true, then we are foolish to disregard them. Yet pride causes us to think we can handle life in our own strength. Under my senior picture, in my high school annual, these words were printed beneath my name: “Ah, he’s some fellow, I’m telling you; there’s not a thing he cannot do!” My pompous attitude must have prompted a classmate to attach those words to me.
Beyond high school I fell on my face many times, learning repeatedly there were indeed many things I could not do – without help! But thankfully my failures helped me to understand that Solomon was right when he said, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
My life only began to sing when I swapped my self-confidence for confidence in Christ, when I decided that apart from Him I had no power to do anything that really mattered. The power comes from the connection. Jesus is the vine and the power is in the vine. Unconnected, the branch has no life. Connected, the branch will produce fruit.
Christ wants his disciples to “bear much fruit” and we can do that only by staying vitally connected to Him. Here, then, is the secret to a meaningful life: “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” Bearing fruit is life’s great goal.
My charger cord allows electrical power to fully charge my cell phone. My connection to Jesus allows the power of the Spirit to fully charge my life and produce the fruit God desires. Daily prayer and reading the Holy Scriptures keeps me plugged into the life-giving Vine. Unconnected to Him, I have no power and no life.
Connected to Jesus, I am alive, fully charged. When He calls, I can answer while joy leaps in my heart at the sound of his voice! + + +