The other day my phone was running dangerously low on battery. I needed it to stay charged because I was expecting to use it for some chores before the evening was over. When I plugged it into its charger, nothing happened. The little icon at the top of the screen mocked me by showing the continued battery drain as I worried about how to do my chores without my phone’s help. I unplugged it and plugged it back in. I fiddled with the connector. I gave it a frustrated and puzzled look. None of that worked. Then I realized that the other end of the charging cord was not plugged into the wall. Had I not discovered that disconnect, my phone would have been useless in a matter of minutes.
I have a really bright and energy efficient LED lamp next to my bed. It works wonderfully to light my whole room. But if I unplug it from the wall, it is completely inadequate as a light source. Unplugged, it becomes a clunky, and rather large and unattractive paper weight. In order for it to work, it must be plugged into a power source. It is of no use or help to me without a connection to the power grid. Jesus graphically illustrates a similar truth for us in John 15:1-8 where he compares us to branches that produce fruit. If a branch is to produce fruit, it must be part of the larger vine. If a branch is not part of the vine, then there will be no fruit. Jesus likens himself to the vine and tells us that apart from him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Without Jesus, we cannot do the kinds of things that God would have us to do. We must be connected to his power, or we cannot help others, we cannot advance the kingdom of God, and we’re going to find it difficult to be kind to those people who need kindness the most.
This power that overcomes our deep inadequacies is potent, mighty, and supernatural. It’s demonstrated when Jesus feeds the multitudes with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread (John 6:1-15). He took wholly inadequate resources, and made them abundant. When you plug your life into Jesus, he becomes your source. His power is made known in ways that are obvious and perhaps miraculous, and ways that are subtle and almost invisible. You will find that as your branches are fed by his vine, that you will produce kindness, and goodness, and patience, peace, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). Your inadequacy will be replaced by his sufficiency!
So how can you plug into his energy? For starters, quit trying to do things in your own power. You don’t really have any. It’s about as silly as trying to light a room with an unplugged lamp. Then start praying for him to empower you. Start charging yourself by reading his word, and being around people who have his power flowing out of them. Then, you can be kind, and helpful, and powerful!