One passage of scripture that seems to emerge at important times in my life is John 15:1-5:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”
This theme of abiding, of remaining in, is picked up by Paul – and Kenneth Berding’s How to Live an ‘In-Christ’ Life is a brilliant devotional that digs deep into what it means to live with and experience this wonderful biblical truth.
This is a book best used – or, at least, I used it this way, and found it fruitful – as a 100-day devotional. The devotionals are relatively short – just two pages, with some scripture quotes – and so would work well if you haven’t done a quiet time for a while, or for providing some ‘spiritual espresso’ alongside more sustained study of Scripture, or similar. For those interested, I’ve been using this book alongside Paul Tripp’s 365 New Morning Mercies, and the Prayermate app.
The theme of union with Christ underpins this book – an idea we often don’t dwell on, but has remarkable and wide-reaching consequences for how we live our lives in Christ. There are, I think, no duffers in this devotional – I found some encouragement or challenge every morning, and turned a couple of corners for things to refer back to, or where Berding had done a particularly good job of describing something good, beautiful and true.
I’d recommend this as a devotional to every Christian, particularly for those who maybe are just starting out at doing a daily quiet time, and also for those who (perhaps like me) can be tempted to lean more in the study direction when it comes to time with God. A great book from Christian Focus, with a simple design and format that gets out of the way and allowed me to enjoy the words.