I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
For many of us, the New Year is a strategic time – a time when we are more willing than ever to change our outlook and approach to life.
Why not use the beginning of a new year to re-establish a proper focus in your Christian life? I can’t think of two more important principles to keep in mind than John 15:5 and Philippians 4:13. Let’s consider them “bookends” for this year and all our life.
Jesus said, "Without Me you can do nothing." Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. He is our source of life and nourishment. What other things do you gain strength from? Here, the secret is abiding: a close, intimate walk with Jesus; living with Him. Such a walk is forever built upon the basics of the Christian life: prayer, Bible reading and study, fellowship with believers, and service to God’s church and a needy world. When we do this, we naturally bear much fruit for God.
Many sense they have borne little fruit for God – but fruit will come naturally as we abide. This can be a year when you bear much fruit for God – leading others to Jesus Christ; serving God’s people in new capacities; seeing the work of God’s kingdom grow.
"Without Me you can do nothing" is an important principle. But the truth of Philippians 4:13 is just as important to remember for the New Year: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." This is the other side of the coin of John 15:5 – without Jesus, we can do nothing; with Him, we can do all things. "All things" is pretty big – yet the promise of Philippians 4:13 is even more powerful than we might first think.
If we look at the context of Philippians 4:13, we understand the power of some of the “all things” Paul could do through the strength of Jesus. It was the strength to be abased, to be hungry, to suffer need, to be in distress – and through it all to have a joy and contentment that rises above every difficult circumstance. Through Jesus, Paul had the strength to abound, to be full, and to accomplish big things.
Your peace and joy throughout the past year were directly tied to the proportion that you lived within these two principles. When you find people thoroughly dependent on Jesus and receiving His strength for the trials and work of life, you will find them full of peace and joy.
No matter how great last year was in these areas, there is no reason why it can’t be even better as you depend more and more upon these two great themes for the coming New Year.
Written by David Guzik for Enduring Word.