A Brief Meditation for the Month

November 2018

In John’s gospel, in chapter fifteen, Jesus describes the relationship which exists between himself and his followers as like that of a vine and its branches. As the branches draw life from the living vine, through their attachment to it, so his people draw their spiritual life from Christ, the spiritual vine. This relationship is so vital that Jesus said, “without me ye can do nothing,” (John 15:5). This makes perfect sense. A branch does not exist independently of the tree. This is a logical and rational fact. However, the reasoning of our modern, and presumed, enlightened society, seems to disagree with such an affirmation.

We hear much in our contemporary society about “high achievers.” People who set goals for themselves and who succeed in achieving them are admired and applauded, while those who are perceived to have no ambition, “no get-up-and-go,” are social failures. Modern man’s thinking is that he has the potential to do and be anything he really wants to. The philosophy fed into the minds of our young people is; you can achieve anything you want, so let nothing or no one get in your way. Just “believe in yourself,” and you will achieve. This is certainly a believing generation, but it is a very different kind of faith to that which we find in our Bibles. The worship of the ego has become the religion of many today. Young people are being encouraged to believe in themselves and become so self-reliant that they need no one else, and certainly not the God of the Bible. One of the serious problems arising from this philosophy is that those who are unable to achieve their goals, frequently end up in despair, to the extent that they feel they have nothing to live for. Faced with what they perceive to be personal failure, some decide to escape from their purposeless lives, and commit suicide. Fate or chance has decided which category they belong to. It is therefore just a matter of resigning themselves to their fate. If they conclude they have been dealt an unkind lot: well, they might as well bring the misery to an end. Disappointment has turned into misery, and misery to desperation, and desperation to a state of hopelessness. Self-timed and self-inflicted death becomes an option, and a final act of self-control, thus, personal achievement. The rapidly rising number of such suicides, among the young, and the teenage population, is a sad reflection upon the spiritual state of our society.

When any society forgets or ignores God, it is inevitable that things will go wrong. The apostle Paul, when addressing the Athenians in Acts chapter seventeen, told them that in God, “we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28. God is the source of natural life as well as spiritual life. If we disown our creator, the very source of our life, how can we survive? If we do not need God, then we must imagine we can sustain ourselves. When despairing souls however, conclude they cannot face life any longer and decide to end their earthly lives, it is testimony to the fact that they find no resources within themselves to sustain them in their disappointment. They assume they have no future in this life, and thus, imagined annihilation will be success at last. How different is the outlook of the believer who is united as a branch to Jesus Christ! Such have spiritual life, that shall never end. Christ, who is God, is their life, (Colossians 3:4) and thus they have no reason to despair, no matter what situation they are faced with in this earthly life. The situation in our society is that there are two categories of persons; not the achievers and the non-achievers, or the haves and the have nots, but those who are united to Christ and those who are not. A rising generation have been seduced into believing in themselves, while rejecting God their creator, Christ as a Saviour, and the Bible as their anchor in life. The results are now speaking for themselves. For so many; they have no God, no Christ, and finally, no hope.

G. G. Hutton.