Yesterday I made plans to visit Nashville to see Emily, the beautiful gal pictured with me. Before Em or I could spell our home state of Tennessee, the Lord decided that we would teach English together, that we would travel to Europe together, and that we would fight cancer together—Em with the chemo in her body and me praying on her behalf. Each phase of our friendship has been a response to what the Lord has already done and determined.
The entirety of our relationship with Christ is one of response, but that idea seems strange, foreign, counterintuitive. If you’re like me, you constantly buy into the lie that “if I ___, then God will ___.” Yet, in John 15:3 Jesus tells us that we “are clean because of the word that [he] has spoken to [us].” He just smashed the “If/Then” lie into smithereens! I am only “clean” because He spoke “It is finished” over me at the cross. Jesus then says that he is the vine and we are the branches, and that by abiding in Him, we will bear fruit proving we are His disciples. A quick glance of this passage tells the legalistic, rule-driven side of my heart to make a list of what it means to abide in Him and bear fruit, thus earning me gold star next to my name on Heaven’s blackboard. But verse 5 says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” We are only connected to the vine, and therefore only able to produce fruit, because Jesus made that possible through the cross.
To abide in Him is not a list of things to do, but one thing to believe: the gospel. Look at how Jesus puts it: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends…You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…” (vs. 13, 16). Believing in and responding to what Christ accomplished on the cross frees us and others from the “If/Then” lies, changing those lies to truths of gospel response.
Because Christ died for me, I am always loved.
Because Christ chose me, I am accepted without any hesitation.
Because Christ proved worthy, I have nothing to prove.
What is your current “If/Then” lie? Ask the Lord to demolish that lie and replace it with a “Because Christ” truth. Remember God’s heart towards you: “These things I have spoken to you that you may have joy, and that your joy may be full” (vs. 11).