Remain In Christ!
I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
John 15:5 (CSB)
Note from Kip…
Jesus told us about Him being the True Vine, from which all of life’s abundance flows from. He also referred to Himself as the Living Water to the woman at the well, where to drink from one never goes thirsty. Still yet, the Bread of Life.
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.”
John 6:35 (HCSB)
Never hungry, never thirsty, bearing much fruit; as we remain in Him and He in us.
Take a close look at the picture
I want you to look closely at the picture that I’ve chosen for todays devotional. Note about a quarter of the way from the top of the image and off to the right side of the picture; you see the vine. Strong and vibrant. Funneling nourishment to the rest of the plant.
The branches Jesus spoke of in our first verse are a bit hidden from view. You see them here and there but because they are holding so many plump grapes you at times have a difficult time picking them out.
Then of course you see the bright leaves and the grapes gorged with goodness.
What you don’t see
You don’t see the withered branches. The ones that have lost their hold on the vine. There’s a reason. The keeper of the vineyard, prunes those away.
If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
John 15:6 (HCSB)
There isn’t much use for a withered branch that chooses to separate from the vine. In fact if they were left on the vine they would rob the other branches of nourishment that the vine supplies, so they are cast aside to be disposed of.
Reading further in John,
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.
John 15:7-8 (HCSB)
It doesn’t really stand out to us unless we take these verses in slowly, but these last two verses of the passage goes a bit further in regard to this attachment to the vine.
“If you remain in Me“, Jesus says, “And My words remain in you” (condition), “Ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.”
An important condition is put into this passage that sometimes gets ignored. His word living in us is a precondition. What Christ is saying is if you take my words to heart and you burry them in your heart; ask whatever you will and it is going to happen.
This isn’t a sacred vending machine. What Jesus is telling us, is that if He is in us, we are in Him, and we have taken His words seriously and applied them to our lives, to our work, to our families, to our world. He is going to see to it that your requests are honored. Not because we will ask for anything we desire, but that our desires will be in direct alignment with the will of God.
Preachers of the prosperity gospel will try to sell you on the idea that this chains God to a cash register where He is bound by His word to dole out our every want.
Jesus isn’t talking about satisfying the flesh, He’s saying that if you are in Him that you will want the things He wants regardless of the circumstance. And He will if we are ‘in Him’.
Beware of those that would tell you that your faith is a coupon for all the things you flesh desires. That is a message from the devil and and anti-gospel from an anti-christ.
One last thing about the fruit
As I looked for pictures of grape vines for this devotional, I had a difficult time trying to locate a picture in the public domain that you could even see the branches. As thin as they are, and so much fruit and foliage is attached to the healthy branches it obscures them from sight in most cases.
The thing that stood out to me as Jesus has used this analogy to teach us to remain in Him, was the contrast between the mass of the branches against what the branches produce.
This says to me, that our faith in Jesus must produce. It is an action verb and we are to thrive in that process of producing fruit.
This means, we can’t lay back and consider that we have it made, there’s nothing required of us beyond that faith we have vested in Christ Jesus.
No brothers and sisters, our faith in Him redeems us but our work is not complete, and if we are in Him and He in us, then we are going to take action and propagate His Love and His Grace to every corner we can. We will implement His words as the core principles of our being, because we are attached to the True Vine and it is there that we place our hope and trust.
Be fruitful. Be in the vine. Let the vine provide your sustenance and hydration. For it is in the vine, Jesus Christ, that we have life. Life that he calls us to in abundance.
As another analogy Jesus told us; Our tree will be known by the fruit it produces.