(Continued from Wednesday.)
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)
It had been a long day. I had faced spiritual opposition, and had felt “crushed” and entirely helpless. The truth of Jesus’s statement, “Without me, you can do nothing,” became very pronounced. I had fallen to my knees for an extended period of time, and had asked him for his mercy to carry me through. I had felt like nothing – even less than nothing – and hope seemed distant, too far to grasp at. The day had seemed painful at best, but now God was doing a new thing, something which was very exciting. I had poured myself out to the Lord, asking him to turn this day around, asking him to use me for his glory. And now God was answering, in full measure. He amazingly had led me right to this very lady who was in such desperate need of spiritual help.
“Apart from me, you can do nothing,” Jesus had made it clear. That meant that apart from Jesus, this woman would not be going to heaven. None of us were going to heaven without Jesus, as the Bible made it very clear: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Jesus himself had said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) What hope was there without Jesus? The truth of the matter was, none – none whatsoever. Even though people might seem to be happy and content now, the truth of the matter was that if they forsook Jesus and turned to worldly pleasures and things which did not profit, then they would in the end forsake the greatest treasure of all: eternal life.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?,” Jesus had said. “Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Then Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:36-38) Was this a time to be ashamed of Jesus? Was this a time to turn away from the power of the living gospel? Certainly not! For one might almost assume that God had foreordained such a time as this, and had carefully put the pieces of the puzzle all together such that we would meet and be able to talk about that which was most important of all: Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal salvation.
“Would you like to pray a prayer of salvation with me, and invite Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of your life?” I asked.
“Yes,” the woman said.
“Please, follow after me,” I said.
And thus it was that through a heartfelt, committed, prayer of salvation, that this woman began a entirely new walk that day. In the words of the Bible, the purpose of Jesus’s coming was, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). Truly this had happened on this particular day for this woman, and it wet my appetite for much more of the same kind of experience – not the suffering and distress I had been through, though if necessary I would be willing to endure that for the sake of being able to lead more people who were in far worse distress than I was that day, to the side of our blessed Savior. To God be the glory!
Dear Christian, are you willing to be used by God to make a difference in this hurting world of ours? Please pray this prayer with me, “Father, I completely surrender to you right now. I give up everything so that I might gain a rich reward in heaven. Lord, I might be poor here, but make me spiritually rich with you, by obeying your commands and doing as you say. Help me to hear your voice at all times. Help me not to listen or obey the voice of another, but only your voice, Lord, let me follow. Help me to know the difference between you and another. Help me not to be sidetracked by the many distractions of this world which seem to come along ‘ad infinitum’, but let me be wholeheartedly focused on, and devoted to, you. For it is in Christ’s name that I pray, Amen!”