{Lessons Learned} Abiding In Christ – We Can’t Do Anything Apart from Jesus

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 by Laurie Coombs 14 Comments

And there's nothing we can do that will have significant, lasting impact apart from God. [Tweet that] First John 4:9 tells us, "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him."  Jesus came that we might live. Truly live. Not endure. Not get by. But live fully, bountifully.

I camped out in the fifteenth chapter of the gospel of John for quite some time during my correspondence with Anthony, the man who murdered my dad. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I knew nothing of any value could be accomplished through my endeavor apart from Jesus.

For apart from me you can do nothing.

I read these words over and over.

Jesus says, I am the vine.

Abide in me.

Abide. What does it look like to abide? I looked it up.

Abide – to stay; to wait; to remain fixed in some state or condition; to endure; to sustain; to submit to…

Abide in me.

I clung close to the cross, I devoured God’s Word, I prayed like never before, I got down, prostrate before our mighty God and learned what it meant to abide in Jesus. And as I did, it became increasingly clear that we truly are nothing apart from Christ.


And there’s nothing we can do that will have significant, lasting impact apart from God. [Tweet that] First John 4:9 tells us, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”

Jesus came that we might live. Truly live. Not endure. Not get by. But live fully, bountifully. [Tweet that]

Jesus says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Throughout scripture, the phrase “in Him” or “in Christ” is used countless times. In Christ, we have forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32), redemption (Romans 3:24), reconciliation (Romans 5:11), eternal life (Romans 6:23), freedom (Romans 8:2), faith, love, and hope (1 Thessalonians 1:3), the peace of God (Philippians 4:7), the love of God (Romans 8:39).

We are made alive in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22). We are sons and daughters of God (Galatians 3:26). We’re a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We’re sanctified (1 Corinthians 1:2), righteous (Romans 5:17), dead to sin, alive to God (Romans 6:11), justified by faith (Galatians 2:16), partakers of the promise (Ephesians 3:6).

And what’s more is that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1).

Ephesians 2 tells us that because of God’s great love for us, He gave His Son that “he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (emphasis added).

What grace, indeed!

In Christ we are full.

Yet, without Christ, we have none of this. Apart from Jesus we are nothing. [Tweet that] And I believe with every part of my being that my journey toward forgiveness would have been inconsequential had I not been given grace to lean on and follow Jesus toward forgiveness when He called.

Forgiveness––true forgiveness––can only be accomplished through Christ. [Tweet that] Many may think they’ve forgiven apart from God, as I once did, but the kind of forgiveness the world offers holds nothing compared to the forgiveness God enables. And it is this forgiveness that heals wounds, it is this forgiveness that has the power to change lives, and it is this forgiveness that has eternal value.

Truly, anything we do apart from Him will not matter. But with Him by our side––with the indwelling of His Spirit––we can do all things.

{We are nothing apart from Christ. But in Christ, we are beloved children of God.}

Question: What does abiding look like in your life? Share in the comments

John 15 ~

I believe reading scripture is one of the most valuable spiritual disciplines we can do. So, I’ve included John 15:1-17 to read at your convenience, if you’d like.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are cleanbecause of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

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  • Oliver Butler

    I just saw this quote online as I am preparing for a message this Sunday. Thank you for sharing your story and your ministry. I am particularly touched by the vine and branches commentary you offered. Peace be with you- Oliver

    • God is good! Thanks for sharing, Oliver! Be blessed!

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  • Shirley Cox

    Hi Laurie, I am Shawna’s mother-in-love. I noticed you had read my blog and in turn I have been reading yours and sharing it with family and friends. I thank God for His grace in your life and His power to turn suffering into an opportunity for Christ to be glorified. God bless you and your family.
    Shirley Cox

    • I’m so glad we found one another’s blogs, Shirley! I just adore Chuck, Shawna, and the boys! Thank you for stopping in and for sharing with those in your life. I pray both of our words will be used mightily to God’s glory! Praying for you and your family!

      • Shirley

        Thanks Laurie. Your are becoming well known here in Virginia, I am sharing your story with many people and the Lord is teaching us so much from your life lessons and obedience.
        I agree…I love those guys too!! Thanks more than you know for praying for us
        Love in Christ, Shirley

        • Thank you, Shirley! And I’ll be sure to keep the prayers coming. After all, we can all use them!

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  • wendy blight

    Laurie, thank you for these wise words on John 15. You summed it up well when you said “in Christ we are full.” I love that statement. We are full…full of Him, full of His Spirit, full of His Word, and full of all that we will ever need. And it is only when we abide in Him that we really live in the FULLNESS of “being full of Him.”

    Blessings to you,


    • Amen! I love how you expanded upon the fullness of God within us! Great words. Thank you, Wendy!

    • Amen! I love how you expanded upon the fullness of God within us! Great words. Thank you, Wendy!