Blog – 2-24-16
“Yes, I am the vine;
you are the branches.
Those who remain in me,
and I in them,
will produce much fruit.
For apart from me you can do nothing.”
When I read this verse this morning in my devotions, I had to smile. It’s one of my all-time favorite verses, and I love the imagery that it creates. How wonderful to think that we never need to feel alone or abandoned because his love runs in and through our veins.
I love the fact that Jesus himself is giving us the invitation to remain in him. That is his greatest desire. He wants to be our lifeline. He wants to be our hope. He wants to help us bear fruit. How cool is that!
This verse is basically telling us that if we want our life to count for something, we have to stay close to Jesus. Stay connected. Just like a branch needs to remain attached to a vine and depends on it for life, connection to Jesus requires our whole heart. We have to be all in. A branch that has fallen away and is disconnected from the vine is not able to produce fruit any more than we are able to do good works when we stand separated and apart from the love, grace, and presence of God. Cut off we are going to struggle to survive.
The grapevine is a very prolific plant, and a single vine can bear thousands of grapes. The whole point of the vine is to do exactly that, bear fruit. Verse 1 of John 15 tells us that God is the gardener, and He cuts off the branches that don’t bear fruit. He also prunes branches that do bear fruit so they can be even more fruitful. The pruning God does in our lives doesn’t always feel very good, but it does help a little bit to know there’s a reason behind it. It truly does make us stronger, and God wants us to continually bear fruit in each other’s lives.
Click to tweet: God wants us to continually bear fruit in each other’s lives.
As you look closely at the last statement in this verse, Jesus uses some pretty strong language when he says, “apart from me you can do nothing.” Nothing? Surely I can do some things on my own, can’t I? Yet I know the truth is, when I have tried to go off on my own I have continually failed. I know we all have stories of failed attempts to do life on our own. It just doesn’t work that way.
As I reflected on this verse today, I was again reminded of how true this verse has been in my own life. When I have stayed close to the vine and relied totally on its power to get me through, I have borne more fruit than I dared to dream possible. I think back to this summer when I was recording my Christmas CD and was having loads of vocal issues. I felt hoarse, and reason and intellect would say that there was no way I could sing the vocals the project required, but Jesus pumped his life-giving truth through me as I clung to him for help. There was a quietness and peace in my soul that didn’t match the physical limitations of my body. On my own I would literally have been able to do nothing…but by staying close to the vine and realizing that was my only hope, I sang the best vocals of my life! God is SO good when we stay connected and close.
Each of us has a choice to make, either we stay connected or we cut ourselves off.
Connected or cut off? Where do you find yourself today? Are you feeling the life-giving love of Christ flowing through you, or do you feel dead inside? Are you healthy and bearing much fruit, or do you need a little pruning?
Wherever you find yourself, my friend, the Good News is you can make a decision to change where you are right here and right now. God will never disconnect our relationship, and His loving arms are always ready and willing to welcome us home.
I encourage you, stay close to the vine. It’s the only way to bear fruit!
Hugs and love,