Doing and Being
Credit:Taras Grebinets

John 15:1–17 ‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’ (v5)

When Jesus was talking with His disciples in the Upper Room, before He would be arrested and taken for trial and punishment, He spoke to them using a picture of a vine.

It is such an evocative picture of what true discipleship should be like. He is explaining to them that unless they stay connected with Him, they really cannot accomplish anything.

That seems quite an extreme statement, doesn’t it? But it makes sense. It is only as we are connected with Jesus, letting His Spirit flow through us, that we can accomplish anything of true worth in His kingdom.

This rubs up against any notions of religious righteousness. We can only be effective if we are a conduit for His own life, in us. The Spirit comes to live in us and flows like water, enlivening and emboldening us, in our work and witness.


Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. The key is to ‘remain’ in Him (v5). What Jesus is speaking about is an ongoing, constant fellowship with Him, staying in His presence, so familiar with His voice that we know when He is saying ‘stop’ or ‘go’.

That takes time, a putting aside of other things to wait with Him, fellowship with Him, putting Him first and learning how to listen and obey. But if we do, we will see the life of Christ more and more at work in us.

We will bear fruit – fruit for the kingdom, fruit that will last forever (v16). God’s work carried out in God’s strength; this is what the Lord requires – a life based in love and commitment, where ‘doing’ flows from ‘being’.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Father, help me to spend more time ‘being’ with Your Son,
remaining in His presence, so that His love flows through me
to a world that needs You. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Can you commit to spending more time just ‘being’ with Jesus, rather than ‘doing’? Effective works flow from relationship with Him. So – what’s your plan?

Scripture To Consider:
1 Kgs 19:1–13; Ps. 46:1–11; Acts 2:1–41; Gal. 5:13–26

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.