Live Passionately // Day 4

You formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You. — Saint Augustine

People who know their lives will soon be over tend to feel a desperate urge to change. But a desperation to change is not enough. In order to sustain the changes, we have to be connected to a power source beyond ourselves. We have to move from willpower to the real power that comes from a connection to our Creator. If you have come to the end of yourself and are exhausted from trying to control your life, Jesus offers you the invitation of a lifetime:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me.

Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to

take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:28-29, MSG).

The Bible consistently reveals that humans are created in God’s image and that we have an eternal part of us, our spirits. It’s the most important part of our lives, because everything else hinges on it. We were created as spiritual beings, and to develop spiritual energy, we have to cultivate a healthy connection to our Creator. If you are connected to your Creator, you will grow like you’ve never grown before; and you’ll experience real power to make lasting changes.

Just as a branch bears fruit out of its connection to the vine, so Jesus says our lives will be fruitful if we remain connected to Him. We are the branch and He is the vine. As His power and life flows through us we are able to bear much fruit. The branch by itself cannot produce life; it can only draw life from the vine. As strange as it may sound, it’s not up to you to produce the results. You’re not responsible for producing fruit; Jesus is. You don’t have to sweat and strive, work harder, or discipline yourself to be more spiritual through sheer willpower. When you realize this truth, it’s incredibly liberating!

All we have to do, our only role, is to be the branch and connect to the vine. If we are connected to the vine, we’ll be spiritually healthy and be filled with His energy. Relying on Him will reduce our stress and allow us the freedom to be fully engaged in life.

So, how do you stay connected to the vine?

1. Constant communication. We maintain this connection through conversational prayer. When you wake up in the morning it’s vital to start your day right by just talking to God. Begin your day with God. Then keep the conversation going throughout the rest of your day. This is called practicing the presence of God and will keep you connected to Him.

2. Constant confession. This doesn’t mean you have to seek out your pastor, priest, or minister and tell him the latest dirt on yourself. It also doesn’t involve beating yourself up and feeling bad for a set period of time. No, it’s really just another dimension of your ongoing conversation with God throughout the day. When you become aware of something you shouldn’t have said or done, or something you didn’t do but believe you should have, just confess it and move on. It also involves agreeing with God about your forgiveness and His potential in your life to accomplish His purpose through you as impossible as it may seem to you. Confession is agreeing with God that our way was wrong, and repentance is deciding to go God’s way and trust His power.

Communication and confession will keep us connected to the ultimate power source, the vine. This is the key for moving from willpower to real power. Resolutions and commitments are useless when we rely on our willpower. You may be able to keep them for a while, but eventually your own power won’t be enough. You move from willpower to His power by staying connected.

Personal Challenge

1. Have you ever truly connected to your Creator? Respond now to Jesus invitation to come to Him that we read in Matthew 11:28-29. Offer Him your life in exchange for His and experience real power to live life as God intended.

2. Begin to practice a life of constant communication and confession. Record in your journal or blog the difference it’s making in your daily life.

  • Terry Wolfe

    The branch by itself cannot produce life; it can only draw life from the vine. As strange as it may sound, it’s not up to you to produce the results. You’re not responsible for producing fruit; Jesus is. You don’t have to sweat and strive, work harder, or discipline yourself to be more spiritual through sheer willpower.

    Wow, That statement hit me right between the eyes. I have always looked at myself and asked, “what have I accomplished today?” I have been very frustrated when I did not seem to get anything done. It really seems that “religion” puts this burden on us about “producing fruit”. So many times in the past I have left a service feeling like a failure, that I did not measure up. What a waste of time that was! Lord, I will spend more time “connecting” to you and let you handle the heavy lifting.

  • Lori Weirich

    Amen! Amen! Amen! I like how you put that you will leave the heavy lifting to him! What a relief!

  • Todd Shaw

    I hear it and believe it, but by Tuesday; I am back trying to do the lifting again. Why oh why, do I have such trust issues and not just leave it up to Jesus and my life would be so much better.

  • Mike Connery

    “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace”
    What a beautiful verse – how could I be stressed if I could live a thought like this? To me, this is what it means to be a Christ-follower, rather than buying into a sack of regulations aka religion.

  • Patti Lis

    Daily, I give Him the heavy lifting, even the smaller weights that can pile up throughout the day, I can’t carry the burdens of this world that is all around us, when I try to I am very crippled from the heavy weight. Going to Him even before my feet touch the floor in the morning and all throughout the day and night, as He hovers over me and all around me, and in me, displaying Himself to me through His creation, and others He places in my path. He promises to never leave us, what an awesome assurance that is. The Creator of our universe cares so much about us, nothing is too great for Him to handle, but we must stay connected to Him. As the branch, staying connected to Him, the Vine, allowing Him to refresh me with His living water, so I may grow and bear fruit. As I share my all with Him, the good and the not so good, trusting Him through all, the easy stuff and the difficulties and hardships, He is my All, all day, all evening, all morning, into eternity. He is my constant companion and Provider through thick and thin.