When I read the verse in The Message Bible, it is interpreted as, "When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing." Surely, anyone can live his or her life without Christ. We see it everyday in people we know, we love, and with whom we interact. They live everyday of their lives without Christ. Some of them are very successful at what they do. They have families who adore them, businesses that make great financial gains, and material wealth. If we are honest, most of us know people who seemingly have it all and could care less about a relationship with Christ.
When Jesus said, "Apart from Me, you can do nothing," I don't believe that He meant that if we tried to live our lives without Him, we would just shrivel up and die or that we would be incapacitated and unable to function; we can go on living because that is not the way God loves. God's love allows us to make the choice each and everyday of whether we will do life on our own or trust and lean on Him. Nevertheless, I am a witness that when you make the choice to do life with Christ each day, it is a much more fruitful and satisfying life. Others may have a bigger bank account, more loved ones, more accolades for things they did on their own, but with Christ, we have more contentment and satisfaction and peace knowing that we did things His way.
It all boils down to what we consider to be successful. If we want the type of successes that the world holds dear, then we can choose to live in whatever way we please, but we risk trading eternal treasures forever for earthly treasures now. If we want to be productive for the Kingdom of God, we must understand that, though we may never see the fruits of our labor on this side of heaven, when we join with Christ, there is satisfaction in knowing for sure that there will be an abundant harvest. When you have a real, intimate relationship with Christ, anything you try to do on your own will seem meaningless and empty. It is better to listen to God's plan and follow His path because it is what is best for you. Ms. EV