July 3, 2012
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:1-2, 5, 8, 16)
John 15 has been showing up everywhere! I am reading “Secrets of the Vine” by Bruce Wilkenson and it is all about being fruitful. I am also reading The Purpose Driven Life and it is talking about using my gifts to be fruitful. Last Sunday the scripture reading at church was John 15 and a few weeks ago, it came up at Bible study. I don’t take this lightly when God speaks a Word to me repeatedly.
I get the abide in Him part and the part about not bearing fruit unless I’m connected to the vine. I get that. And I agree. Fruitfulness away from the vine doesn’t happen. It will be bad fruit.
Matthew 7:17-20 says, “Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
A bad tree grows when it does not abide in Christ. On the other hand, when you do live in Christ, a life of fruitfulness just happens.
So this is great! I get it! Be fruitful… get pruned… vine… branches.. but what does it all mean? Lord – why this verse so much lately?
And all I hear is “Abide in me.”
Then I find the answer in “The Sacred Romance.” It says, “Living spiritually requires something more than just not sinning or doing good works. In order to live in the kingdom of heaven, you must abide in me. Your identity is in me.”
Wow. That’s it! It’s not about being fruitful. That’s not what He’s telling me. He’s telling me that my identity is in Him. I must live in Him. I am nothing apart from Him. The rest is just evidence that I am living in Christ.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
All these things = Fruitfulness
SO if I’m not abiding in Jesus, where is it that I abide? Where or whom is it that I run to when I am feeling lonely or anxious?
I used to run to drugs, cigarettes and men. I needed a connection with someone. I needed someone to validate my feelings and comfort me. For the last 15 years of my life I looked to others for my happiness.
But now I know that I am content in Jesus. And I find my comfort from Him. But is He the first person I run to when I am lonely? I wish I could say yes to that. But there are times when I look for comfort from friends here first. And He wants me to come straight to Him. HE wants to be first in my life. That is what He’s showing me.
Secrets of the Vine says, “Abiding happens at the exact place where the branch touches the vine. The larger the union between the vine and branch, the more sap can flow, and the greater the potential harvest. In the same way, through a shared connection that Jesus called abiding, God pours His life into ours.”
The deeper I abide in Him, the more I will know Him. The more I know Him, the bigger the harvest will be. The bigger the harvest is, the greater the Kingdom of God is! And that’s what its all about!