Apart from Jesus You Can Do Nothing
“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. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
From 1972 to 1974, I was the program director at WSGN in Birmingham, Alabama. One night, I was awakened by a phone call. A disc jockey was calling to tell me he had been arrested and thrown in jail. “Come bail me out so I don’t miss my air shift,” he said.
The following morning, my alarm went off as usual. As I prepared for work, I told my wife about a strange dream about a disc jockey who needed me to bail him out of jail.
Upon arrival at the radio station, I was greeted by the news director. “Did you hear what happened?” Then he told me that one of our air personalities was in jail. Oops. That wasn’t just a dream. It was the real deal.
Soon after, the DJ was released, and he came to see me. “What did you do to end up in jail?” I asked.
“I was in a hurry to leave the house so I didn’t fasten my pants. Then a policeman pulled me over for speeding and told me to get out of my car. When I stepped out my pants fell down around my ankles.”
He was arrested and charged with — indecent exposure.
Days later the news director again was the bearer of bad news. “I saw (so-and-so) at the courthouse today. He was standing before the judge for sentencing. And guess what he was wearing?”
“I don’t have a clue.”
“He was wearing a WSGN station t-shirt.”
When he showed up for work, I was there to greet him. “As a radio personality you are a representative of this radio station. Your behavior is an embarrassment. And standing in front of the judge, wearing a station t-shirt is unacceptable! What on earth were you thinking?”
“I thought the judge would let me off if he knew where I worked.”
In today’s focus text, Jesus instructs His disciples to show “…yourselves to be my disciples.” We are to represent Him in the best possible light. Our conduct and good works should demonstrate we belong to Christ.
The “fruit” of which Jesus speaks is our work and deeds that result from being rightly connected to Him. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” His power (as the vine) runs through us (the branches) to produce fruit that benefits those who come in contact with us.
Separate the branch from the vine and it dies and accomplishes nothing. “Apart from me you can do nothing.” But when the branch remains on the vine, it produces fruit as intended by God.
The fruit you produce is not designed solely for your enjoyment. When God blesses you with resources, talents, or abilities, He wants you to use them to impact the lives of others. And He wants it done in a way that represents Him well.
Jesus in you, and you in Jesus — results in righteous works and behavior that blesses others and glorifies God.
By the way, in the story about the DJ, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you (as Paul Harvey used to say) “the rest of the story.” Years later, after working at other radio stations in other cities, I returned to Birmingham. Someone asked me if I remembered this fellow.
I responded, “Of course, how could I ever forget?”
“He gave His life to Christ, and now — he’s a preacher.”
No longer was he serving up rock-and-roll on the radio… he was now serving “The Rock of Ages” on a Christian radio station.
Christians are fruit trees for Christ, the Lord’s representatives on earth. Does your fruit bring glory to the Father? Are you flying solo, or are you in Christ and serving to bear fruit for His glory?
For more on this topic, check out this article: What is Required of Those Who Follow Christ
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.