Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:4-8
We have been reading John 15 since the beginning of our Christian journey. It’s Christianity 101. To be a fruit bearing Christian we must abide in Christ. We have understood this to mean spending time in God’s Word, and prayer. And we do that. And if you are anything like me, you’re thinking – hmmm I’m abiding, but I’m just not feelin’ the fruit. Eventually abiding feels like too much work – if we are honest.
It’s not work though. It’s just who we are. We are the branches. We just are. In the spiritual DNA of a life that surrenders daily to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the natural result of abiding without effort, just like a branch hanging out on the vine, the fruit just comes, in its season. And that’s the hard part. The fruit shows itself on the branch at just the right time, and it is not up to the branch to pop out the goods, it’s up to the Source of life.
And another thing. I don’t think the fruit shows up until there’s a need. What good is the fruit if it’s just hanging on the branch and there’s no one around to be nourished by it? I can have amazing encounters with the Living God as I abide, but unless my life comes in contact with another, the nourishing power of the Vine is limited to just me as a measly little branch. I’m hanging out on the Vine, hoping to experience the life-force of God extending through me, but if it has nowhere to go, there’s no need for the Spirit to flow, for fruit to show.
It’s like my MacBook. There it sits, plugged in to its source of power, but it’s closed and the little light breathing in and out tells me that it’s “sleeping.” It’s there, it’s connected, it’s abiding with its power source, but its power is not flowing at full strength. But when I need it, I can lift the screen and it springs to life at the moment it is called upon. Why? Because it was already abiding in it’s source of power and when my fingers begin their tap-tap tapping, or the track-pad points and clicks at untold amounts of information on the world-wide web my computer is behaving exactly as it’s creator intended. But it doesn’t scroll through You Tube, or type blogs all by itself. It’s only when it is called upon by another that the full expression of the power is revealed.
That analogy is clearly flawed, but it really helps me. As an abider in the Vine, I often think I should be constantly experiencing the full force and power of the Holy Spirit pulsating through my life. I feel discouraged when I’m just going through the necessary motions of my everyday life and feel pretty much like I always have. I’m driving to work thinking, “I have the Spirit of the Living God dwelling within me, shouldn’t I feel like some sort of dynamo…all the time?” No. I should not. That is ridiculous. What I have found to be true, however, is that as I abide, the power of the Vine is released when the branch comes in contact with one who needs the nourishment of the fruit God is offering through me at the very moment it is needed.
Christian, you have only to abide. What a privilege.