You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. (John 15:3-4)
Relate: “I’m spiritual but not religious.” It didn’t answer the question I asked. Or maybe it did. She went on to describe how she doesn’t need to go to church because she connects better with God on her own when she can stay away from all the judgmental attitudes and hypocrisy found in the churches. My original question, “what does Jesus mean to you?” was now asked in a different form: “So who is this God you connect with, and how do you do it?”
She began talking about a higher power. God is a force, a light, He is the essence of goodness in the world. I’m not sure exactly how she described it but stock phrases like those above captured the “essence”. It wasn’t the first time I heard such garbage but before going on I tried once more, “So how does Jesus fit into this picture?”
“Oh, He was a good man. He probably tapped into God as well and was teaching his disciples how to do so but Jesus has been hijacked by the church to become something He’s not. Jesus wasn’t exclusive. He wasn’t so judgmental.”
Knowing where she was standing, I tried my best to redirect her toward the truth, but she didn’t want truth. I tried to share Jesus with her, but she didn’t want Jesus. She wanted a guru who could guide people to a higher power that wasn’t really any higher and certainly didn’t have any power. She wanted to have the good feeling of being “connected” to something but she didn’t want that connection to actually make any demands on her life or to bring any changes.
React: Abiding in Jesus means not abiding in a lot of other things. If we really want to be his follower, we need to deny ourselves and embrace death. Nothing else will do. If we are to truly be connected to God, we need to disconnect from the world. Only then will we bear any fruit.
God, I want to stay connected to You. I want to be plugged into You. I want to bear fruit. I want to abide. Help me to disconnect from any ideas or influences, any habits or thoughts that are not of You. Help me to disconnect from the need to fashion a god in my own image. Help me to disconnect from anything that reeks of a false, “comfortable” Christianity. You are my Life. You are the Truth. You are the Way and there is no other.