By Elizabeth Prata
It’s summer. You go out for a walk. You look down at the sidewalk and see a little dried up string of a worm. I know you’ve see those. The worm tried to make it across the expanse, and got too hot and fried before he made it to the other side.
If a worm had a brain maybe he was thinking “Ahhh this grass feels so good. Oh no, what’s this? Concrete. I’ve been warned about how dangerous concrete is. Hmmm, it looks dry and hot, but it doesn’t look too wide, I think I can make it!” and he launches across wiggling his way over the fiery hot ground. But with every wiggle he loses strength. It’s taking longer than he thought, he’s lost his energy. He slows down. He takes a rest, just for a minute. Panting. The burning hot cement overtakes him and he dries up in a final gasp.
A few days later it rained. The worm’s brother wiggles in the dirt underground and emerges on the surface of the grass. It’s cool and refreshing. There are floods of puddles everywhere. The worm makes his way across the lawn and comes to the concrete. He thinks, “Hmm, I’ve been warned about this. But look, there’s an inch of water across the whole thing. I can stay hydrated and I can make it!” And he launches across and skims along on the water and makes it to the other side.
Be the second worm.
I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5).
When we try to do hard things, (or anything) in our own strength, we will dry up. The Holy Spirit gives us strength, keeps us refreshed. It’s the Holy Spirit who keeps us hydrated, so to speak. He provides the living water upon which we go about and do the things we need to do in Christ.
Staying away from reading the Bible, failing to pray, isolating yourself from church life (Have you gone back to church AND fully immersed yourself in your fellow Christians’ lives?) will dry you up faster than a worm on the sidewalk on a July day. We are totally dependent on Jesus for all that we do. Barnes’ Notes says of John 15:5-
The expression "without me" denotes the same as separate from me. As the branches, if separated from the parent stock, could produce no fruit, but would immediately wither and die, so Christians, if separate from Christ, could do nothing. The expression is one, therefore, strongly implying dependence. The Son of God was the original source of life, John 1:4. He also, by his work as Mediator, gives life to the world John 6:33, and it is by the same grace and agency that it is continued in the Christian. We see hence:
1. that to him is due all the praise for all the good works the Christian performs. 2. that they will perform good works just in proportion as they feel their dependence on him and look to him. And, 3. that the reason why others fail of being holy is because they are unwilling to look to him, and seek grace and strength from him who alone is able to give it.
Whenever you’re walking around this summer and see an unfortunate little dehydrated worm, think of the word “dependence”. In Matthew Henry’s Commentary, he said,
Note, It is the great concern of all Christ’s disciples constantly to keep up a dependence upon Christ and communion with him, habitually to adhere to him, and actually to derive supplies from him. Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2018).
We don’t like to be the second worm, dependent and helpless without Christ. We like to think we can do this or that in our own strength. And maybe we can fool ourselves for a while, doing small things and enjoying their success. So, emboldened, we sally forth to do more, INdependent of Jesus.
But eventually, we will dry up, and spectacularly so. We need Jesus for the giving of life and grace. It is He that gives holiness and fruitfulness. The Holy Spirit bestows support and strength.
When we’re halfway across the hard thing and we realize we are drying up and out of strength, we can always pray in repentance for our foolishness. He will flood us with His refreshing, living water again and again, sustaining us when we ask for this good gift from the Father. He will supply us with the means, strength, energy, and will to do all the things, even the hard things. Especially the hard things. We cannot do them apart from Him. Abide in Jesus.