Jesus tells us in John 15:1-2, “I am the 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.”
In verse 2, I had to take a pause. I have read that verse many times. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit”, Jesus is saying, “the Father takes away.”
Wait! Wait a minute. If we are in Jesus, how can that happen?! My take on it is… some of those branches may “appear” to be connected to Jesus, the Vine… but are not—those branches are “dead” and will never produce fruit. Perhaps they are those who sit in a comfy pew and sing all the right “religious” songs and say all the right “churchy” things, but their hearts are far from God. (Matthew 15:8-9 and Isaiah 29:13) God, the vinedresser removes those branches, so that the “living” branches, those truly “abiding” in Jesus can accomplish their purpose.
Cucumber on the vine
Have you ever looked at a vine? Let’s look at one of my cucumbers on the vine…(Isn’t this baby cucumber so cute!) When the branches stay connected and get all their nutrients from the vine—they bear fruit, they bud, blossom into a flower, and through a maturing process—become a full sized cucumber—identical fruit to what that vine produces. They must stay connected. They cannot just show up on Sunday, grab a few sips of the Holy Spirit and expect to bear the fruit of the Spirit. It is an “all in” relationship. NOT a religion or merely an affiliation with a church.
In both the cucumber vine, and in our relationship with Jesus, we cannot just be “around” or “attached” to the concept of Jesus. That is not enough. I think it is possible for a person to claim the name of Jesus and miss Who He Is. The Great I Am!
I think it is possible for a person to go to church and associate with believers, even think they are doing all the right things, yet not have the life-giving benefits of being fully attached and fully abiding in the TRUE vine.
Many years ago, I had an ivy. I was watering it one day and as I moved it to soak the soil, one of the branches broke. Not all the way through, but almost. It was such a beautiful branch, healthy and green. I did not want to lose it. Thinking I was so smart, (bear with me) I got out my Scotch tape and taped it back together. You can probably guess what happened. For a few days, all seemed well. It was going to make it!
Nope, sad story. At the end of a week being only partially attached to the main vine, it shriveled up and died.
We can be like that. We can join a church, sit in a pew every Sunday, tithe, sing all the praise songs, shout out an amen when the message is good, and yet—be so far from Jesus. We can be attached to the church, or attached to the idea of God but not connected to the Source of life. Eventually, God the vinedresser, the One with ultimate knowledge and authority—will remove those false branches and discard them.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be discarded. How can we bear fruit?
Jesus says in John 15:6 (NKJV) “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.”
We must “abide” in Him and He will abide in us. His life source flowing through us. Producing the fruit of the Spirit as we totally depend on the Vine for all things, all direction, all wisdom, all power to accomplish His will in our life.
Jesus was crystal clear in saying, We can do NOTHING without HIM. And in case we think “we” chose Him. He goes further in John 15:16 (NKJV). “You did not chose 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 will give you.”
He has all the POWER, He gives us DIRECTION, He has CHOSEN us. He has APPOINTED us. The FRUIT comes from Him. Fruit that comes from Him REMAINS. It does not die on the vine but is His LIGHT to others. His LIFE BLOOD flowing through us produces FRUIT that RESEMBLES HIM! How cool is that!
We need to fully obey and abide in Him. Hold tight to the VINE. He does the rest! THANK YOU, JESUS!
You are CHOSEN, & APPOINTED to BEAR HIS FRUIT! You are EQUIPPED, now GO!
See you in the garden!