January 22 // Jay & Michelle Krause
John 15:5 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.
Jesus wants us to understand the importance of staying connected to Him. He explains to us in John 15:1-2 that He is the true vine and God the Father is the Gardener. He explains in verses 6-8, if we do not remain in Him, we wither and die being thrown into the fire. It is for God’s glory that He wants us to bear much fruit.
What is the meaning of fruit in this passage? We can bear inner fruit when we allow God to nurture us with Christ like qualities… Gal 5:22 – Fruits of the Spirit. We can bear outward fruit when we allow God to work through us to bring Him glory, as in good works. Referenced in Titus 3:14, Psalm 1:3, John 15:8, 2 Corinthians 9:8.
We must understand, for the vineyard to really produce a good harvest, the branches have to respond to the attention of the Gardener. When branches fall to the ground and get covered in dirt, the Gardener gently picks them up, cleans them off and helps them flourish. Notice that He doesn’t just cut them off right away. He keeps them (you) connected to the vine. His purpose is to cleanse them (you) and free them (you) of dirt (sin) so they (you) can receive more sun (son) and flourish.
God wants us to bear as much fruit as possible. He prunes the branches that are not producing fruit. Pruning may come in many forms and it might be painful at first, it might look like he is taking things away from us, things we thought were good. This is where we need to trust the Gardener.
About 10 years ago, our marriage hit rock bottom, we were in the dirt. We cried out to God to save us. Things in our lives had to go. He picked us up, dusted us off and tied us to the trellis. We remained on the vine, hanging on by only a small thread. He began pruning things in our marriage and family that were not bringing Him glory. Eventually we began to grow in Him, closer to Jesus and closer to each other. It is only by His grace and being more in His presence that our marriage survived and is thriving today.
How are your branches? In what ways is God pruning you? Are you staying connected to the vine? Are you producing fruit? “If you stay connected to Him, if you draw spiritual nourishment from Him, if you allow the power that flows through Him to flow through you, nothing will hold you back from reaching the most abundant life possible.” (Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine)
Remain in his Presence and you will be blessed.
Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you for Jesus and the beautiful way he explains to us how to stay connected to Him and how to trust in you, the Master Gardener of our lives. Help us to remain in Him and to trust what you have already planned out for us, for our country, communities, and relationships. Help us to honor you in everything we say and do and most importantly, help us to stay connected to the vine that keeps us healthy and strong, so that we may produce the most abundant harvest for your glory!