“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.” (John 15:5)
Suppose you are totally paralyzed and can do nothing for yourself but talk. And suppose a strong and reliable friend promised to live with you and do whatever you needed done. How could you glorify this friend if a stranger came to see you?
Would you glorify his generosity and strength by trying to get out of bed and carry him? No! You would say, “Friend, please come lift me up, and would you put a pillow behind me so I can look at my guest? And would you please put my glasses on for me?”
And so your visitor would learn from your requests that you are helpless and that your friend is strong and kind. You glorify your friend by needing him, and by asking him for help, and counting on him.
In John 15:5, Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” So we really are paralyzed. Without Christ, we are capable of no Christ-exalting good. As Paul says in Romans 7:18, “Nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.”
But John 15:5 also says that God does intend for us to do much Christ-exalting good, namely bear fruit: “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.” So as our strong and reliable friend — “I have called you friends” (John 15:15) — he promises to do for us, and through us, what we can’t do for ourselves.
How then do we glorify him? Jesus gives the answer in John 15:7: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” We pray! We ask God to do for us through Christ what we can’t do for ourselves — bear fruit.
John 15:8 gives the result: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.”
So how is God glorified by prayer? Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that he will provide the help we need.
Abide in Me
By: Danni Andrew, 1.cbn.com
My friend has grape vines on the fence in the backyard of his Mom’s house. The vines have completely intertwined with the fence and are literally all over the place. The grapes are beginning to die off and are in need of pruning.
As I was reading my devotions this morning I picked up a small devotional booklet and read a page before I picked up my regular devotional book. The passage in the small book was John 15:4 “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.” (NASB) I thought it was a good passage to start my day with. I set it down and began reading my regular devotional book. I had not gotten very far down the page when I read the scripture for the day. It was John 15:4. I stopped to read the small booklet again, and sure enough it was the same passage. God must be trying to tell me something.
My life has been like the grape vines on the backyard fence lately. Twisted, going every which way but the way it should be. God has been gently pruning my life. He has been getting rid of those things in my life which distract me and take away from the Joy of life in Jesus. Worry and stress have robbed me of my Joy in so many ways. The more time I spend worrying, the less I get done. The less I get done, the more stressed I get and the more I worry. My life has become twisted and unruly, just like the grape vines on my friends back fence.
In an attempt to get things done I have made a schedule. I created a list of things which must be done each day, and the time frame for them to be completed by. While being organized is a good thing it can distract me from what is most important. Spending time with Jesus in the word is more important than getting my schedule done. I have loosened the strings on my tight schedule. Now, I have a list of what needs to be done and am asking God to show me what HE wants me to get done today. It helps me to be more relaxed which in turn helps me to be more productive.
Control is one of the branches on my grapevine which needed to be pruned. I like to have control of things in my life, but I have a tendency to over control every area of my life. Unless I abide in Jesus and let Him have control, my life will be a mess. John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” NASB
What branch on your grapevine needs pruning? What is keeping you from experiencing the full joy Jesus has to offer you? He will gently prune those things in your life which are keeping you from experiencing His full joy. Abiding in Him means spending time with Him. Spending time with Jesus can only be good for you. What person, thing or habit are you holding onto that is stopping you from experiencing the full joy of what God has for you?
The more time I spend with Jesus the better my life is. When I open my day with Bible study, prayer and thanking God for what He has done for me, my problems get smaller and my workload gets lighter. When I let God tell me what He wants me to do today, the more “right” things I get done.. Only when I allow God to prune my grapevine, will I continue to grow.
Abiding in the Vine
By: John Kuperus
Scripture Reading — John 15:1-8
“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.”
—John 15:5 —
If you want to make your life count, Jesus wisely explains how. He says, “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.”
The challenge is to be devoted to living in and for Jesus, in a way like a branch is attached to a vine and depends on it for life. This takes our whole heart.
How can we accomplish this? Only by the power of Christ himself. He makes that clear when he says, “Apart from me you can do nothing” in the way of bearing fruit. And he adds, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (John 15:16).
In the verses of our Scripture today, the words “fruit” or “fruitful” occur seven times. God’s primary concern is not our comfort or happiness, but that we bear fruit. We need to let the gardener prune the self-centeredness and selfishness out of our lives so that we can truly remain in Jesus and bear fruit for his kingdom—“fruit that will last.” Then others will enjoy God’s goodness and be drawn to him also.
Christ is our lifeline, and he calls us to abide in him. Rather than living our own way, we grow to live his way, and he supplies all we need in order to do that. It’s the only way to truly live—forever.