One of the things I loved about college was the sense that you could do anything! Everything was new, and anything was possible!
Ever watch the show The Amazing Race? If not, here it is in a nutshell: It’s a race. And it’s amazing.
It’s a competition where pairs of people compete against several other teams while they race around the world. The last team is eliminated.
Every team has to ask for help at some point. Players ask for help in one of two ways:
- Some people ask for help and then take off.
- Some people ask for more than just help. And I don’t just want you to TELL ME how to get there. I want you to TAKE ME there.
The second option is obviously the most effective, but if I’m honest, the first response is a pretty good description of how I approach my relationship with God. When I find myself…
…really needing something
…in a painful situation
…with a big decision I need to make quickly
…with a big project event, test, game, project, or performance that I want to go well
I usually take off running before God can even give me an answer.
Too often, God is where we go in big moments when we need quick answers. But God doesn’t want us to stop there. He is a person. He is someone who wants a relationship.
God wants to be the Guide we ask to go with us.
Jesus actually explains what this looks like in a conversation He had with His disciples. They were all eating together, in what ended up being the last meal before Jesus was going to be crucified.
He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5a NIV). Vine and branches would’ve been things in nature they saw regularly. Grape vines were a big part of the culture they lived in. Jesus refers to Himself as “the vine.” For the branches, the vine is the source of life—it is where the branch gets what it needs to survive and thrive.
The only place I see grapes are in the produce section of Kroger. So I want to put this into a word-picture that makes more sense for us. Think of the source of electricity for things in your dorm. If you want a lamp, television, phone charger, video game system, or hair dryer to work, you need an electrical outlet.
The vine is the power source, like an electrical outlet.
And just like a vine works in conjunction with a branch, an electrical outlet works in conjunction with an electrical cord. The outlet is the source of energy for the cord.
The branches are like an electrical cord.
So basically, Jesus is saying, “I am the outlet, you are the cord.”
Jesus continues: “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5 NIV). Jesus is saying, “A big first step for you is to stay in step with me—to stay connected.” In electrical cord terms, the main job is to plug in.
Jesus says, “If you stay plugged in, you will bear much fruit.” When an electrical cord is plugged into an outlet…
The lamp gives light
The cell phone charges
Your game system fires up
Things come to life!
If you want to get the most of life, stay close to the source of it.
As an exclamation point on this verse, Jesus concludes, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5c NIV). You can try to do everything on your own. You can accomplish some great things. But you won’t bear the fruit that God intends for you unless you stay close unless you stay connected.
Getting disconnected doesn’t mean you no longer have a relationship with Him. It just means you’re missing out on getting the most out of life. The great news is God is with you, and He is for you. He loves you and wants nothing more than to help you.
Remaining—staying connected—is something we can practice and get better at doing. It’s a habit we can build.
We can be close with God. We just have to plug in with Him. There are a lot of ways to begin developing the skill:
- Reading the Bible
- Spending time with others who are connected to Him
Those are all great ways to “remain” in Him. But for today, let’s start with just one—a question that goes like this: Will you guide me, God? It’s a great question to ask at the beginning of the day, before a class, before a conversation, before you walk into your house, before you text someone, before you go on a date, before you walk into youth group, etc. It’s a way of learning to plug yourself into the source before you face the next part of your day.
Know that God is looking out for us. He wants us to live lives connected to Him because He knows being connected and close to Him sets us up for the most fulfillment. He knows if we want to get the most out of life, we need to stay close to the source of it.
As you head out today, I want you to start here: Ask God to guide you. Stay plugged in to the one who wants to bring you to life. Live a life plugged into his mission today.
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This devotional is one in Sugar Hill Church’s First 30 devotional series for college students. To access the entire series & podcasts be sure to check SHC’s site each day, as new ones are added daily.
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