Welcome to Daily Steps!
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, prayer prompts, and action steps to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.
John 15:5 “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.”
Life with the Master Gardener
Charles E. Hummel, the author of a small but powerful booklet entitled Tyranny of the Urgent said, “But the root of all sin is self-sufficiency—independence from the rule of God. When we fail to wait prayerfully for God’s guidance and strength, we are saying with our actions, if not with our words, that we do not need Him. How much of our service is actually a ‘going it alone’?”
Like the branch of a vine, Mr. Hummel’s statement gets to the very heart of what it means to live completely dependent on God and the community of believers He’s placed you in. To truly love God and bear the fruit only His Spirit can produce, you must abide in Jesus and yield daily to the care of the Master Gardener. In other words, your day-to-day living, breathing, coming, going, and decision-making is determined by your dwelling close to the heart of Jesus and depending on Him for your satisfaction, joy, and value in life. If we try to produce fruit in our own strength and by using our own talents… or if we make decisions based entirely on our own wisdom and experience, then we will never come to fully depend on, or abide, in Jesus.
Once we get to the end of ourselves, we will find the beginning of the life God intends for us. In John 15, Jesus reveals both the key to letting God make the decisions for our lives and the reward of doing so. Verses 4-5 say: “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.” In these words, Jesus foreshadows the coming sacrifice of His life to make an abundant and eternal life for us possible. As we abide, the Master Gardener will prune us, and there are times that the process will hurt a bit and test our endurance. But operating under His influence we will be able to see His purpose in the pain and trust that He is working to bring His plans to fruition in ways only He can do.
Daily Bible Readings
This week, as you go through the daily readings below, ask God to show you how abiding with Him offers a better life than anything you can do on your own. As you contemplate these passages, make time to pray before and after you read them. In each reading, ask God to show you what the verses mean specifically to you and then write down anything that the Holy Spirit whispers to your heart. God’s Word is alive, so even if you’re familiar with these Scriptures, approach them with an expectant heart and an open mind.
Monday — Read Psalm 73:28 and ask the Holy Spirit to help you love, trust, and depend on God with a greater capacity than you ever have before. Spend some time writing down any barriers that might be standing in the way of you drawing closer to Him right now and then ask Him to help you remove them one by one.
Tuesday — Read the words of Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message Version, The Passion Translation, and then in two more literal versions like the English Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible. Write down what you sense God whispering to your heart about walking closely with Him.
Wednesday — Using your imagination as a part of your personal worship and meditation with Jesus can be a very effective way to help you focus and experience His presence. Read John 15:1-17 in a version that helps you visualize the analogy of Jesus being the sustaining vine of life. Select one verse or phrase that resonates with you the most and then imagine what it feels like to be with Jesus as He encourages you to abide even closer.
Thursday — Sometimes we find ourselves depending on other things or activities more than God for our comfort, joy, and peace. Read these two passages — Psalm 42:1-3 and Psalm 16:11 — and then pray them back to God. Ask Him to show you anything that is bringing you more comfort and joy than He does.
Friday — When we pin our hopes to the unshakeable Rock who is God, we are less likely to be swayed or spiritually damaged by our circumstances. In fact, just the opposite happens, we will grow stronger and closer to Jesus every day. Read Matthew 7:24-27 and James 1:6. Ask the Holy Spirit to tell you what to do to get stronger in Christ.
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