John 15:1-5 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 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 am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
There are 7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and in all this, God has given us one day, a day of rest, that we might grow in faith, that we might grow in understanding, but most of all that there is a time of refreshing, a time when we may make a new beginning. It is by the grace of God that in the blood of Jesus Christ we can find forgiveness. In the forgiveness that is ours in Jesus blood, we find that by faith through grace, we are made a new creation. And if we are a new creation, and if our sins have been washed away, then we can have a new beginning. And if at least weekly, we receive the forgiveness of sins that gives us a new beginning, doesnít that mean that we can never be more than 6 days behind? If one looks daily to repent and for forgiveness, we can in effect, never be behind.
For there are 2 things that seem to oppress us, one is a sort of slavery to things we "ought to do" and the other is worry. You already know well how it works. Somehow something doesnít get done, it gets added to the "to do" list for the next day, now there is more than can properly get done in a day. And so, day after day the list grows longer and longer, and because we have so much to do, we cannot take the day of rest that God has given us, or so we tell ourselves. So we do not rest, and we are not refreshed, and we become harried and helpless, and day by day we get further and further behind. And when it seems as though there is no end in sight, we despair, but just before despair, we have already entered into worry, how can we fit the "to doís" into the time? When will we get done? When can we rest? And even if, after long hours of work, we rest, we feel guilty because of all that is not done.
Why is worry a sin? For real worry is a sin, if for no other reason than it does not trust in God, or look to him for aid in time of trial, nor is it confident that He can help. You see, worry is a form of idolatry, for in worry, something other than God is always at the center. Worry doesnít solve problems. Worry doesnít get tasks done. In fact the chief thing worry does, it get us further and further behind. And the answer to worry is faith.
Faith is a gift of God. Faith comes as we hear the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit working through the word, creates and strengthens faith in our hearts. I am the vine, and you are the branches - that is Jesus provides everything necessary as long as we abide in him.
When we abide in Jesus what ever it is that God would have us to, gets done; it gets done, not because of our hard work, but by the grace of God which enables us to accomplish. When we donít get everything done, either we added something to what God desired, or we departed from Jesus, trying to do it by ourselves, and cut off from the vine and source of life we withered, and failed. In either case, that answer is the same, turn from our ways, repent of our sin, and return to God in repentance, and find in Jesus blood forgiveness, a new creation, and a new beginning.
Why? The first reason is this, that there will never be any peace or contentment unless we abide in the true vine. The second reason is that if we are abiding in the vine, Jesus will see that we are fruitful, and the Holy Spirit will see that we are kept in true faith unto life everlasting. For there will be a judgment, and all those that do not bear fruit will be cut off, cast out, and will burn eternally. This is real, it will happen, and we have been warned. Now is the time to repent of everything and anything that is not part of Godís will for us in Jesus Christ.
Confident that you have repented of your sins, and that you firmly purpose, by the grace of God, to abide in Jesus, to seek and to do His will; here is part 2. Branches that abide in Jesus are pruned. To outsiders pruning may look like being cut off, but it serves a different purpose from removing the dead wood. Pruning is a training in the way we should go. Pruning is a form of discipline. It is a training of the conscience so that we might grow, and be fruitful and live as Godís children.1John 3:18-21
And we have confidence with God because Jesus is our Lord and our Savior, and in Jesus blood we are forgiven.