A branch can’t survive, much less bear fruit, when it has been cut off from the vine. And, Jesus says, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Him.
Christ is the source of our nourishment. He gives us true life. God will prune us to make us grow even more when we stay connected to the true vine.
There are of course many impostors claiming to be the true vine. If we “abide” with them, they say, “you can really have true life! You can really start to enjoy yourself. You can experience the gusto of life to its fullest!”
The word, abide, means to live with, dwell, remain, to stay. We are asked to dwell with Jesus. We are asked to remain in relationship with Jesus as he is in relationship to the Father.
Their relationship is one based on love. Jesus is not trying to scare us into believing! Instead we are invited into a loving relationship with God. We are invited to stay “connected” to God!
If you have ever noticed a vine and its branches, they are intertwined. They are wrapped around each other. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the vine from the branch! We are invited into that kind of relationship with Christ! Wow! Once we begin an abiding relationship with Jesus then we find ourselves as fruit bearing branches.
Here is a difficult question. What is it like to be pruned?
Pruning sounds like it hurts! Actually, when we prune a branch it is to prevent the tree or plant from incurring injury. We trim a limb back because it is getting too heavy and might break. We cut some branches off because they draw food and sap from the rest of the tree with no benefit. We trim off parts of a plant that are diseased.
I believe the pruning we undergo as people, is similar. Sometimes we try to abide with God and we are too heavy. We carry all of our burdens with us. We carry so much stuff with us that instead of seeing God in us, all others see is the baggage. We bring our overstressed, burdened, workaholic lives to God and say we want a relationship. “I’ll talk to you when I’m in trouble or I need you, OK?”
How do we begin to abide with God when we are so overwhelmed that we don’t know where to start? We might just ask God to show us what is important first!
The counterfeit vine could be money, or the things money can buy. It could be power.
But counterfeit vines produce a counterfeit life. We may thrive on attention, on recognition, on the adrenaline rush of being up in front of a crowd.
We may crave affirmation. We may want to show the world that we are better than everyone always said we could be. We may crave control. We may rely upon distractions of various sorts like TV, the internet, drugs and alcohol or pornography, to enjoy meaningless forms of momentary counterfeit happiness.
But, none of these ever gives true life, and none can ever replace the wisdom that comes from God. How can we be happy if we cut ourselves off from the true vine who gives us wisdom and life?
May Christ’s words cleanse us as we seek to bear fruit for the Kingdom, and may we work each day and be found abiding in Christ and the relationship He offers us with God the Father.
May we bear beautiful fruit, as the branches of the True Vine.
~ Mary Lindow ©
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|Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others in all generations and careers or vocations to live and express excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She is a sought after keynote inspirational and humorous speaker and teacher throughout the United States internationally in Ministers conferences, International Spiritual leaders Conferences, and in National and International training seminars for various organizations.|