“I can do it myself. Don’t worry about me.” 

These words have set the tone for more of my days than I’d care to admit. I like to consider myself a strong, independent woman. And although there is nothing wrong with this mindset, these thoughts of determined independence can bleed into my relationship with God. 

In one of His final messages before going to the cross, Jesus taught that our lives are not meant to be rooted in our own self-sufficiency. Rather, for those of us who profess Jesus as Lord, we are to be dependent on His love, provision, and guidance every day.

How do we do this? Jesus tells us to “remain” (John 15:4). The word occurs eight times in four verses, signaling its importance. Remain expresses an ongoing, continuous action: remain (stay put) in Jesus. When I try to handle life in my own strength or strive for perfection and acceptance, I always fall short. These so-called sources of life are like weeds or dead branches: they offer momentary sustenance or no life-giving sustenance at all.

When I devote myself to reading Scripture, spending time in prayer, and seeking counsel from and community with other believers, the Holy Spirit enables me to become more joyful, patient, loving, and peaceful. Jesus is the True Vine (John 15:1). He is the only source in life that I need, not money, not accolades. Just Him and Him alone.

God wants us to stay connected to Him, the source of life. Not because He wants to rip us off or steal our joy. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” Jesus calls us to stay intimately connected to Him so we may fully live. I need to remind myself of this truth daily. I am powerless to go through life on my own, which reveals my need for a Savior.

As the master gardener, Jesus does not promise an easy life. He does, however, promise a fruitful life. He cuts back the things that hinder me from growing. This happens both when I am passionately seeking Him and when I try to go my own way. Though not always easy, both are beneficial. Through seasons of pruning, I have learned I need to let go of my wants and preferences in order to submit to His will and His way.

Jesus offers Himself as the source for our growth. He invites all believers to live a life that bears much fruit. 

Remain in Jesus. He faithfully remains in us, with us, and through us as the true vine. 


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Melissa Fuller

Melissa Fuller

Melissa loves God’s Word and is committed to helping women fall in love with Scripture (and its author!). She has a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and served as the general editor of the NET Love God Greatly Bible and the managing editor of the CSB She Reads Truth Bible and the CSB (in)courage Devotional Bible. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA, loves running and hiking and is currently pursuing her goal of visiting all the National Parks in the US!

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