I Am the True Vine
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. … Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1, NIV; 15:4-5, ESV)
From Genesis to Revelation the Bible declares that God loves us and desires a relationship with us. Here in John 15, Jesus’ death was near. He was preparing His disciples for what lay ahead. Using the metaphor of a vine, He explained they would lead fruitful lives and find joy in living only if they were connected to Him, as the branch is connected to the vine.
Jesus is our life-giving Vine. When we remain in fellowship with Him, we receive the spiritual nourishment we need. We can do nothing of eternal value in our own strength. When we depend on Him, secure in the promise that His Spirit within us gives us power, we bear fruit for God’s kingdom.
In verse 4, Jesus tells us to abide in Him. Abiding in Jesus means staying connected to Him, resting, trusting, and submitting to His authority. God did not create us to be self-sufficient. He designed us to live connected to Him and to each other. Apart from a relationship with Him, fruit-bearing is impossible. Fruit is certain when we abide. This is the secret of the parable from the vineyard.
What is the main hindrance to your daily abiding in Christ? For me it is busyness. I have no trouble abiding in Christ during my quiet time with Him each morning! It is when I give in to the tyranny of the urgent that self takes over. God is teaching me that what is needed is a greater margin in my day for more of Him. Obedience leads to blessing.
Throughout the day Jesus invites us to turn our eyes upon Him, to listen and yield to more of Him. He alone can reset our thinking and convict our hearts toward repentance and surrender. This is fertile soil that God the gardener uses to grow within us the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I am thankful that our God is a faithful, loving, forgiving, and patient gardener!
Mary Ann and Tad Harris met in the parking lot of First Baptist Church, and Mary Ann has been a member of NFBC since they married in 1973! She has taught youth in Sunday School and most recently served in the mentoring ministry of Soul Time. She and Tad are members of the Encouragers class. They have three adult children and their wonderful spouses who are the parents of their soon-to-be-ten precious grandchildren!