Spring in vineyard

Everyone who trusts Christ to save them receives his Holy Spirit in their lives, but few people experience the power of the Holy Spirit because they still depend on their own power instead. Learning to depend on God’s Spirit to guide you, strengthen you, empower you, and use you is the second habit you must develop for spiritual strength.

Jesus gives a beautiful illustration of this in John 15. He compares our spiritual life to a grapevine and its branches. Jesus said, “I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me” (John 15:5 CEV).

No grape branch can produce fruit without staying connected to the main vine, and you cannot produce spiritual fruit while disconnected from God’s Spirit. The fruitfulness of your life will depend on how dependent you are on the Holy Spirit. Attempting to bear fruit (and making positive changes) on your own power is as foolish as tying apples on the branches of a dead apple tree. From a distance, it might look as if the tree is alive and fruitful, but on closer inspection, people would realize the fruitfulness is fake.

Many “religious” people try to fake fruitfulness. They tie on all kinds of good activities—such as attending church services, helping the poor, and being polite and generous to others—but there really is no spiritual life or power inside them, because they are not connected to God. All their “spiritual” activities are just for show. When you get close to them, you can see that they don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus.

So how do you develop a vibrant, life-giving relationship to God? The same way you develop any other relationship! It takes time, it takes talking, and it takes trust. To develop a friendship with God, you have to be in continual conversation with him, listening to him through his Word and talking with him in prayer. If you are not talking to God throughout your day, you certainly aren’t depending on him. Prayer is far more than a once-a-day quiet time or a memorized blessing before each meal. God wants to have a running conversation with you!

Text Box: My Daily Conversation “As I work through my day, I often find myself praying after each task, ‘What’s next Lord?’ And before I walk into any room for a meeting, I always say a silent prayer, asking God to give me wisdom for that meeting. Prayer is the key to staying connected to God, and staying connected is the key to God’s power and effectiveness. I recently tweeted this: ‘Much prayer—much power. Little prayer—little power. No prayer—no power.’ If I am not quietly talking to God as I do my work, I am not depending on him at that moment. And if I don’t talk to God about what I’m doing, it shows that I’m doing it on my own power.” —Pastor Warren

What should you pray about? Everything! Here’s a simple rule: If it’s worth worrying about, then it is worth praying about. If you prayed as much as you worry, you would have a whole lot less to worry about.