Day 37 of our series is by Joel Espada and Patrick Genova and is based on John 15 and a reminder for us all to remain in the vine. You can see more devotionals here
Do it for the Vine!
Joel Espada & Patrick Genova
The Vine and the Branches
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
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. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Jesus makes this comparison of his relationship to God the Father (the vine and the gardner in v1). He then relates it to us and our relationship with Him (He the vine & we the branches v5). And finally, tells us the key to living a spiritually fruitful (abundantly productive & effective) life on Earth is by remaining in the vine that is Jesus and His words!
Sometimes we consciously or unconsciously decide not to remain in the vine even though we have these amazing promises when we do. We know that if we remain in Christ and in his word, we will be fruitful, we will be given the things we ask for in accordance with His will, and we will live abundantly fruitful lives! Who would’t want all those promises?! What could keep us from taking hold of these incredible promises?!
I think sometimes we want the promises, but not the sacrifice. We want the blessings of remaining in the vine without actually caring about the vine itself. We want the promises of Christ, but sometimes our love for Christ will only go but so far.
Q: What keeps you from really remaining in Christ?
Reflect: What does it feel like for you when you are really walking with Christ? When he is really an intimate part of your day?
According to this verse, Jesus says God cuts off every branch in him that bears no fruit. Keeping in mind this analogy of a gardener and his plants, a gardner must cut off the unhealthy destructive branches that can actually hurt the growth of the healthy fruitful branches. This is a tough teaching for many of us. This idea that God could cut anything off doesn’t sit so well with us, but it makes perfect sense and is in line with God’s love because He will protect us from the destructive nature of those that would do us harm because of their refusal to love and remain in him.
Not remaining in the vine will cause the worst parts of us as people to surface and we can become destructive. The safe guard we have against this is by remaining in our love for Jesus and his words. In doing this, we will be a life giving part of the vine that heals and builds rather than hurts.
Q: How has it been going lately for you with remaining in the vine that is Christ?
For me lately (Pat speaking here), I have noticed my tendency can be to run ahead of Jesus and His perfect pace to things. I need to make sure I am walking with Jesus and not trying to run ahead of him. He has His own pace, His own way of doing things and they are perfect and harmonious and often they have no resemblance to my way of doing things! I want to see things happen pretty quickly and I can have a hard time waiting when Jesus wants me to relax for a while and just be with him. I can feel guilty like “doesn’t Jesus want me to do this?!” and often He is right there saying, “lets take a break and connect, we will get to that later, how are you?”
Q: If Jesus came up to you right now and asked you “how are you?” what would be your answer?
In v2b Jesus says: “while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful”
Spiritual growth and pruning can be uncomfortable, can’t it?! Think about a time in your life where you grew the most, what was that like? So often our greatest moments for growth come through the greatest challenges.
Q: How do you think God is using this time right now to help you grow (pruning)?
Q: What is the number one thing God is revealing to you right now? How do you plan to work on it?
When we do remain in the vine we have some pretty incredible promises! We will get anything we ask for in Jesus’s name and we will bear much fruit. Jesus promises us this exciting, purpose driven life. Having a purpose and a sense of making this world and eternity a better place is an amazing feeling and it brings glory to God. However, we can’t do this without allowing Jesus to dwell within us.
Challenge: Jesus is the true vine, and our ultimate success in life is dependent upon our attachment to him. When we abide in Jesus and follow His Word we are promised that fruit will be produced in our life and we’ll experience full joy in our life.
Make a commitment to strengthen your attachment to Jesus. This week make a decision to obey his commands, study God’s Word, meet together with other Christians for times of fellowship and prayer, and devote yourself completely to Jesus.