Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Abiding in the Vine

Jesus told His disciples "I am the vine, you are the branches" (John 15:5).

If you are one of His disciples, you don't have to strive to be a branch. You are already a branch. You don't have to strive to be in the vine; you are already in the vine.

The same life-giving sap that flows through Him flows through you. If He were to die, you would die too. But so long as He lives, you will live also. All you have to do is abide in Him.

You can draw everything you need from Him. If the sun of temptation shines hot, you can draw from Him all the liquid refreshment you need. If the sun of temptation shines twice as hot, you can draw twice as much refreshment, and your leaf will stay fresh and green.

Jesus said "He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit" (v5). The vine doesn't bear the fruit, it produces it. Its purpose is to draw the exact liquid refreshment from the soil to produce beautiful fruit. The branch's purpose is to bear the fruit. The branch doesn't produce the fruit; it bears it. If the branch abides in the vine, fruit-bearing is automatic.

What does it mean to abide in Christ? It means to live, to dwell, to remain, to stay, to continue. It means to stay within the boundaries that His love has drawn for you.

The branch will need to be pruned. If it isn't pruned, it will grow all over the place and have nothing but leaves. Pruned by the vinedresser (v1), it will bear fruit.

Jesus said "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" (v16).

I used to wonder what the connection was between bearing fruit and answered prayer.

The answer, of course, is abiding in Christ.