“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 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. Already you are clean because of the word that 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. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
(John 15:1-11, ESV)
If a plant is to
fruit and flower,
it needs water to
feed and nourish its
Waterless, it will wither and die
before it buds.
Every muscle of the body,
to do its work,
needs strength and growth-giving
Void of nutrition, it will weaken and atrophy,
unable to withstand its assigned
Every part of the body
cannot properly function
without every other part of the
never doing its work in isolation,
always in connection and cooperation.
Every soft and malleable lump of
needs the skilled hands of a
Clay has no capacity
to form itself into something
useful and beautiful.
Sheep weren’t created to
They were made to be
No infant comes into the world
Each is born with a desperate need
for the constant nurturing care
of a loving parent’s hand.
Look around at God’s wide and varied
examine each thing and you will discover
According to the Creator’s design,
nothing exists on its own.
There is no such thing as
Everything God created is dependent
in some way.
That sad moment in the
stands as a forever reminder
that independence is dangerous
that will always lead you away from
your created purpose
mutually dependent community.
So, today remind yourself again,
you’re the plant in constant need of
your muscles are weak apart from the nutrients of
you’re a part of a body, needing
every other part
to do your part
you’re clay in need of the Potter’s
you’re a sheep in need of the
you’re a child in need of the
opens the door
to your Father’s care
and to all of the provisions of
he has made
he is making
he will continue to make
for each one of his children.
that you weren’t designed to
make it on your own.
You were made needy so that
neediness would drive you to your
to find all that you ever need in
Consider again the dependence of
and be warned:
the delusion of independence
will never ever take you anywhere
Paul David Tripp
1. Yesterday in the United States, we celebrated Independence Day. In what ways does your culture glorify autonomy (the freedom and right to live as you wish) and self-sufficiency (the ability within oneself to sustain and succeed in life)?
2. How is autonomy a lie and self-sufficiency a delusion? What does the Bible have to say about both of those? In what ways have you recently demonstrated that autonomy is destructive and self-sufficiency unattainable?
3. How have you previously experienced success in life, at least, as defined by culture? Where are you currently experiencing success? Did you take credit then, and are you tempted to take credit today, for what is only a gift and blessing from a loving and generous God?
4. Why is it dangerous and destructive to think that you are a self-made man or woman? Where is the evidence that you clearly needed the assistance of others to achieve success?
5. In what ways are you attempting to live above or outside of the body of Christ? Even though you would never declare this publicly with your lips, how does your attitude reveal that you think you can spiritually thrive without the insight, objectivity, and exhortation of brothers and sisters in your local church?