Apart from Him we can do nothing

Putting Jesus in Charge

putting Jesus in charge is the key to having a full life in Him.

Table of Contents

Putting Jesus in charge of our lives is key to having a vital Christian faith. We can’t do it on our own strength; we must abide with Christ.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. (John 15:5-8)

I want to focus this article on the verse that is central to the creation of this site. Truly, it is central to the revitalization of my faith, and the reason for sharing all these writings with you.

It was through my heartfelt acceptance of this verse that I understood why my faith had been such the struggle that it was for many years. I began to understand more about what authentic faith in Jesus Christ looked like. I realized how I had effectively been on “team God” for many years, but not living like a disciple in submission and obedience.

John 15:5 effectively flipped on the light switch for me. It helped me see why I struggled with prayer and bible study. I came to understand that living in holiness wasn’t something I did because of who I claimed, but something I did because of who I knew and submitted to. I learned that putting Jesus in charge was the key to an effective Christian walk of faith.

Why Putting Jesus in Charge is Necessary

There are several reasons why we should be putting Jesus in charge of our faith. Let’s walk through a few of them.

We are Unable to Live Holy Lives Alone

Christ tells us the sign that we love Him is that we will obey His commands (John 14:21). When we say we are a follower of Christ, that has the idea of aligning under His authority already baked in. It is how we show that we love Him, just as His death proved His love for us (Romans 5:8).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes the Law and then illustrates not just it’s words, but it’s heart. He says “you have heard it said” in describing aspects of the law. Then follows up by saying “but I say”, and somehow makes it even more difficult to achieve. He wraps up these illustrations by saying we are to be perfect, just as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

Clearly this leaves us with a huge problem.

God’s Law has already illustrated that nobody can achieve righteousness on their own effort (Romans 3:10-12). We will never be able to follow Christ’s commands perfectly. So how can it be done?

Only through the power of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.

What We Rely on Jesus for

A point of clarity; what Jesus did on the cross – His once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins – imparts His righteousness to us. This had to be done first, to make a way for us to commune with God. It’s how we can courageously approach God’s throne in prayer. It’s how we can live as if sin is a conquered enemy.

But let’s be careful we don’t confuse the imparted righteousness paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ with holiness. Yes, we can have a relationship with God because Christ paid the penalty for our sins. However, this is our position in Christ when we trust Him. Righteousness is a state of being. Living in holiness is a confirming behavior of that state.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is not a “get out of jail free” card that allows us to live however we want and just show it at Heaven’s entrance after we die. If we live however we want after we say we have given ourselves to Christ, how does our life confirm that decision?

Our journey with Christ starts with repentance, which includes not only asking for Christ’s forgiveness, but changing how we live. Jesus instructs his disciples how to live through His commands. And only His true disciples are capable of doing so.

Jesus Tells Us it is Necessary

Finally, putting Jesus in charge is necessary because He has a very specific calling for us.

Jesus makes the cost of being a disciple clear. He expects us to surrender ourselves for His sake. Everything.

When Christ tells us to deny our own way, take up our cross and follow Him, we are being associated with a life of sacrifice for His sake. Implicit in this is that we will obey His direction over our own.

Do you see how following Christ is different from salvation? The promise of salvation awaits all of Jesus Christ’s authentic followers. We can say we have faith in Christ, but the test of whether or not that faith is true is in how we lived as we claimed that name.

Here is what is beautiful about this. The Bible promises us that Christ’s commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). Because we have new life in Christ, we are enabled to live in the way that He guides us.

But for that to be attainable – as I discovered – we must abide with Christ. As Jesus clearly tells us in today’s passage, apart from Him we can do nothing.

When we attempt to live the Christian life on our own terms we will fail, because, again, we cannot live perfect lives. But through Christ all things are possible.

Now that we understand the what, let’s look at the how of putting Jesus in charge.

How Do We Put Jesus in Charge?

As they say, knowing is half the battle. Putting Jesus in charge is something we can understand, but how do we put that into practice?

Before I accepted the importance of abiding with Christ, I struggled in my faith. At a young age I “accepted Christ” – I was explained to and understood that Jesus paid the price for my sins and I had no hope in my own goodness of seeing the Lord.

However, I was not under the pattern of discipleship that Jesus illustrated while He was on this earth. My opportunities to experience true discipleship were few and far between. Therefore, I was left mostly to my own devices. I was a child physically and spiritually; put in charge of my own spiritual care, I floundered.

There were times that I approached my faith by putting Christ in charge. But even then, it was under my own effort, which would eventually sputter and fail. I “knew” that I belonged to Christ because of the decision I made. But my life was not bearing consistent evidence. And at the times I was farthest from the narrow road, my life was indistinguishable from the rest of the world. In fact, even by some worldly standards I could have been considered not a good person.

And yet because I was a consistent church attendee, I thought that I knew the truth, and my struggles could be attributed to other things, but that I was still ok because I had “trusted Christ”.

So what changed? The truth of today’s passage showed me my only hope was putting Christ in charge. Daily, intimately. Through what I now call the abiding disciplines.

What are the Abiding Disciplines?

I go into this further in one of our foundational articles entitled The Secret to Discipleship. Not secret as in hidden, but as in the key. You won’t find any mysteriousness here. These are the “eat right and exercise” of our faith. Tried and true, and something you probably already know. And just like eating right and exercising, we are often tempted to ignore it for our own pleasure or because we think we have a different way that we’d prefer.

I encourage you to read the article for a deeper dive, but let’s briefly mention the 3 abiding disciplines here.

Prayer is our time of communion with God. Through regular prayer, we are reconfirming our submission to Christ and commitment to holy living. We are lifting our prayers to God and listening for God’s presence at the same time.

Bible Study is one of the most important ways we can learn about Jesus Christ, His nature, and how to obey Him. God does communicate with us by other means, but the Bible – this miraculous document – was given to us to be used. It guides our knowledge, our meditation, and our encouragement.

Fellowship with other believers allows us to live in community for worship, service, and support. Jesus Christ never intends for our faith to be lived in isolation.

While all of these can be done with others, these should also be done as individual acts of abiding with Christ continually if we have any hope of living out our faith authentically. Even fellowship can be 1-1 with Jesus Christ. And if you look, you will see evidence of all 3 in today’s passage.

When we are doing these on a regular basis, with sincerity and integrity, we will grow in our faith through Christ’s work in us.

How Life Changes by Putting Jesus in Charge

Through the abiding disciplines, we actively abide with Christ. It is how we daily show our submission to Christ and His authority in our lives. At the same time, it is how we come to know Him intimately (John 7:16-17).

The more we commune with Christ, emptying ourselves before Him, the more we will learn what pleases Him. The more we will take on His attributes. And as we grow in faith and maturity, we are blessed by the fruits of the spirit. We come to know Christ’s peace and joy because we are daily walking with Him.

click link to Pinterest pin with image of woman outdoors leaning forward with hands clasped with text that reads "Abiding with Christ always comes before activity for Christ". As the fruits of the spirit become more evident in our lives, the more we are empowered to obey Christ in deeper and bolder ways. The more courage we will gain to trust Christ and take greater steps of faith with Him.

Here’s the point. It is through abiding with Christ that we are enabled to follow Christ. It is His power and will working in our lives as we submit to and abide with Him that makes authentic faith in Christ possible.

As today’s passage says, when we see fruit being created in our lives, it is evidence that we are true disciples. Some have interpreted this fruit as equivalent to doing good works. I say to you that it is because of this fruit that good works in Christ are possible. We are empowered to deeper and more consistent obedience, marking us as true disciples.

The disciples were only sent out to share the good news after they had spent time with Christ. Abiding with Christ always comes before activity for Christ. It is the abiding that empowers our good works. I believe this is part of the light burden Jesus promised us.

When We Stop Putting Jesus in Charge

When we stop submitting and abiding with Christ, it is like we are shutting off the water faucet. We won’t be thirsty immediately. But if we wait long enough without turning it back on, our (spiritual) health will weaken.

If we go long enough without Christ, we will become like the dry branches described in today’s passage. Clearly, this is not the destiny we should be embracing. We can avoid this happening to us by putting Jesus in charge.

Dear friend, this has been one of the most important and faith-changing truths I have ever discovered. I encourage every one of you to abide with Christ. And I hope one of the ways you will choose to do that is share time with me here at Abiding With Christ.

More Bible verses about putting Jesus in charge:

Psalm 23; Matthew 7:21-23; John 15:16; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 5:24-26; Philippians 3:17-21; 1 John 3:9-10

All Biblical reference links courtesy of Bible Gateway, a searchable online Bible tool hosting more than 200 versions of the Bible in over 70 languages.

You may also like:

Let's Abide Together - New Article Alerts Sent to You


Get to know more about the site, our contributors, and our beliefs

Follow Us
error: Content is protected !!

Let's Abide with Christ Together

We’ll let you know when new articles are posted

(typically 2-3 a week)