Recently our son and son-in-law worked hard trimming back branches on our property. With a machete in hand as well as a chain saw, they worked tirelessly cutting back the overgrowth. Then when they had finished, they dragged the branches into piles for later disposal. While the branches were green and filled with life when they were first trimmed, a week later the piles of branches had
In the Gospel according to John, we read these words spoken by our Lord: " 4 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. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples" (John 15:4-8). I love how Jesus speaks in simple terms using nature to point out how important our relationship to Him is for us.
One of the first points that our Lord makes is that we need to be attached to Him if we want real life. He said he was "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Certainly apart from Him, we have no life. We are like the dead, dry branches piled up in our yard. Likewise, in this condition, we cannot do anything because we are not joined to the source of life. We cannot produce fruit in our lives because we are withered and have no ability to do this on our own.
However, if we are joined to Christ by confession and repentance trusting in Him for salvation, we are joined into the vine where streams of living water fill our souls and satisfy our longings. Furthermore, Jesus told us we must abide in Him. According to the International Study Bible Encyclopedia, the word "abide" means: Old English word signifying progressively to "await," "remain," "lodge," "sojourn," "dwell," "continue," "endure". All of these definitions lend the notion that we are to have intimate relationship with our Savior. We are to stay close to Him and He will stay close to us. As a result, we will produce fruit which, in turn, glorifies God. In addition, fruit also demonstrates to the world that we belong to Christ. This appears, at first glance, to be an easy job. All we have to do is abide in Christ. Unfortunately, we have the old nature still clinging to us. When we give in to it and pull away from Christ, we are unable to succeed in bearing good fruit. He is our source and life. As He said, "apart from me you can do nothing."
There are those outside of the faith who try hard to do things on their own, but they can never succeed without God's help. Adam and Eve found that out in the Garden. Humanists have tried to perfect man with every passing generation with little apparent success. Secularists, globalists, communists, socialists and all the other "ist's" have tried but none can produce the fruit of righteousness that comes alone through Christ as we abide in Him.
Let us take to heart the lesson of those branches which were cut off on our property. They withered and died because they were separated from the source of life. May we know that our life, power and fulfillment come when we abide in Him...it is not in what we can do but what and how He produces the fruit in our lives for His glory. Selah!