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Lenten Devotional 2-22-2024

I hope this email finds you well! Today’s devotional comes to us from Daniel Winkler. Daniel serves as the Associate Director of TCU’s Baptist Student Ministry. Daniel joined the BSM team in the Spring of 2023 and has been a wonderful addition to the TCU community! He is energetic, enthusiastic, passionate, good-humored, and enjoys sharing the story of what God is doing in the hearts and lives of college students. I hope you enjoy today’s devotional, and many blessings to you and yours.

John 15:4-5 (ESV)


“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.”

A Call and Invitation by Jesus

Few places in Scripture have been more impactful for me than these two simple verses. This is a call and invitation by the Lord Jesus Christ to draw near to him, and to live intimately with him. He wants us to sit in his presence and experience him. Practicing this will produce fruit. He would go so far as to say that we can’t do anything if we are not doing this first thing.

But let’s be honest, abiding may feel impossible. The reality is, we are hardwired to abide in something. The question is, what are we abiding in? Jesus draws a connection between abiding, and the fruit that comes with it. When we abide in Christ, we bear fruit. When we don’t abide in Christ, we still bear fruit, and the fruit we bear is directly connected to the thing we abide in.

When you’re having a bad day, what do you run to in order to help you get through it? When you begin to settle down, where do your thoughts naturally turn? When you have extra time, where do you spend it? Questions like these will help you identify what you’re abiding in. If you slow down and look at your life, you can identify the fruit that your life is producing. It may be anger, lust, pride, anxiety, distrust, discontentment, bitterness, or some other thing. These are all byproducts of abiding in something other than Jesus.

Jesus promises fruit when we abide in him, and Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit he’s talking about. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” We all want these things in our lives, and at some level, we try to grit our teeth and force ourselves into producing these good qualities instead of the bad qualities. But God calls it “the fruit of the Spirit” not “the fruit of effort.” We will begin to exhibit these things when we start to abide in Christ. When we abide in something else, these qualities will escape us, even if we try to force ourselves to produce them. The road to lasting change really does start with being with Jesus, not with our efforts.

Reflection questions:

What are you abiding in?

What is the fruit that’s coming out of your life?

How can you arrange your life around being with Jesus?

Let us pray.

Dear Lord, we thank you for inviting us into your presence and for producing the live-giving fruit that we all crave. Please show us what we are abiding in. Give us clarity on the fruit in our lives and clarity on where it is coming from. Give us the desire to abide in you, and give us affection for you and you alone. Let us taste and see that you’re good.



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