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Mature in Faith's Reliance on Christ

Do you ever outgrow childlike faith?

by Andy Davis on March 19, 2024

vine on wall
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5  


Maturing Christians develop a firm and consistent reliance on Christ. Trusting in Christ means relying on him absolutely and completely in every area of life. Saving faith begins when an individual knows for certain that all his righteous acts are like filthy rags, that his good works are not truly good, neither can they pay for his sins. He has seen himself clearly and accurately as a sinner en route to hell, with no righteousness whatsoever. He has also seen Christ as a perfect man, a Savior whose righteousness is available as a free gift, and the one whose blood paid once for all for his sins. Saving faith means turning forever away from self-righteousness and venturing totally and completely on Christ alone. The moment that happens, the sinner is justified, made positionally righteous in the sight of God, forgiven forever!

But that is just the beginning of the Christian life. As we grow in faith, we grow in our sense of total reliance on Christ for everything, not just forgiveness of sins. Christ is our life, in every sense of the word. He is our creator and our sustainer. He is our daily food and the path on which we are walking to get to heaven. He is our king, whose easy yoke should be on our necks every day we live. He is our mission and purpose in life. It is impossible to overestimate his role in our very existence and as our eternal destination. So, as we grow in maturity, we are growing in a more realistic sense of total dependence on Christ in all areas and all respects.

"Christ is our life, in every sense of the word."

A very powerful passage on this issue is cited above—John 15. There Jesus asserts that he is the vine, and we are the branches. He demands that we remain (abide, dwell) in him every moment of every day as a branch does within the vine that sustains it. The vine gave birth to the branch, and physically holds it up off the ground. The hidden tubules within the connection between the vine and the branch supply everything the branch needs for life: water and nutrients drawn from the soil beneath. This connection is essential for life and for fruit bearing. The branch can do nothing on its own; everything depends on that secret connection. This command to remain in him is fulfilled in a daily recognition of the truth that Jesus declares, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

So, a mature Christian knows that truth down to every fiber and molecule of his being. He has no illusions of independence from Christ. No desire for independence. He declares total dependance on Jesus every moment by the word he reads and the prayers he prays. He tells Christ constantly what Christ already told him: “Apart from you, I can do nothing.” Now the mature Christian knows that that is not literally true. There are many things that he has done and continues to do apart from Christ… but they all fall under one black title: SIN. That is the only thing he can do apart from Christ. But if he desires at any single moment of any single day to bear good fruit, he must dwell in Jesus actively and consciously, relying on him by his word and Spirit. Your pathway to maturity must include this concept far more than ever before; daily confess to Jesus this vital truth: “Apart from you, I can do nothing.” The more you believe that and actively rely on Jesus to support you and feed you, the more mature and fruitful you will be.

Tags: faith, scripture, holy spirit, abiding