A long time ago, I wrote a post entitled “Two Question Christianity,” where I suggested that Christians need to explore scripture with two questions in mind: 1) What does this say about God? and 2) If this is who God says He is in His word, how should I respond to Him?
However, I did not explore or demonstrate what this would look like in practice. So, today I wanted to provide a devotional for you that helps you apply the principle in that article. Obviously, there are more than two questions below; however, the two questions in that article frame the rest of the questions here. They are intentionally broad questions to help encourage thinking and develop a closer relationship with God. If you would like space to write down your answers to these questions, you may download a copy to your computer as either a .docx file where you can enter your answers or as a .pdf file that you can print out to write down your answers.
If you find this helpful and would like more devotionals like this, please let me know in the comments.
Also, I welcome any insights you would like to share with me from your meditation on these questions.
“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.”John 15:1-5 (ESV)
1. What does this passage say about who Jesus is? Who the Father is?
2. Taking these two things together what does this say about God?
3. Since this is who He is, how does the Bible instruct us to respond to Him?
4. The Greek word translated “abide” means “to stay, to be in a state that begins and continues, to remain as one, not to become different from one another.” How do you daily stay in Christ?
5. What evidence in your life points to the conclusion that, although you are your own self, you remain one with Him?
6. What evidence in your life shows you have drifted from Christ and have become different from Him?
7. What would you need to add or remove from your life so that you may continuously “abide” in Him?
8. Every life produces some type of result from their actions. What would you say is the result of your life’s actions so far?
9. Where do you receive the life for this fruit? The world? Social Media? Politics? Philosophy? Or Jesus? Take some time to identify the effects your life has produced and then identify the source that feeds these actions.
10. Jesus describes two types of branches: one does not bear fruit and is taken away, the other abides in Christ and suffers seasons of pruning that it may bear more fruit. Which one are you? Why do you think that?
11. When Jesus says “apart from me you can do nothing” is he referring to practical actions such as eating lunch, driving to work, or changing a diaper? Or is he referring to something more? What other characteristic of Himself could he be alluding to besides being the life-giving vine?
12. How does this passage, and especially verse 5, relate to 1st Corinthians 10:31, which says: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”?
Take time to reflect on who God has revealed Himself to be to you through this passage.
- Start your prayer by addressing God with that characteristic. For example, “God, you are ____” or “I come to my holy ____”.
- Praise Him for being this in general and in your own life.
- Look back at question #6 and ask God to forgive you for the things you listed.
- Ask Him, in accordance with who He is, to make you like Himself and to abide daily in Him.
- Humble yourself and tell God why you want this and why you need this.
- Commit to Him to stay in Him but also ask Him for the strength to do so.
- Ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.