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 …. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples …. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain. John 15:4-5, 8, 16A
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
When it comes to things that grow in the soil, we might say that the fruit is the product of the plant. Fruit is a good word for capturing all that comes forth from our lives that is beneficial and worthwhile. You may recall the expression: “the fruit of your labors.” In a broader sense, then, fruit is the good product our lives yield from the work we put into living life well. So, good fruit is the outcome we want from the lives we live and work is what we do to achieve that outcome. But the question must asked, “Where does it all come from? To put the question another way, “What is the source of the work we put into our lives that yields a successful outcome?”
The answer to this is super significant; way, way more than might strike us at the outset of considering what the answer is for us. In reality, the meaning of life hinges on our answer. From an earlier Devotional in our series, a story was used for considering another metaphor. There is lesson from that metaphor that will help us grasp the central issue that is involved here. The metaphor was about glowing embers and what happened when one of the embers was separated from the others. The glow of the ember gradually faded until it grew cold and stopped glowing altogether. While the main lesson of the metaphor focused on the need for embers to stay close to each other, a more fundamental lesson was drawn from the metaphor.
Here is what was said: Glowing embers do not come about just because embers are in close proximity to each other. It is the fire and the fire alone that makes each ember glow. God is the fire in our lives and his life in us needs to be active and full in order for our lives to “glow” so to speak. Our natural tendency is to slip away from being close to God and having his life be active and full in us.
Being close to God and totally dependent on him as the source of our lives is absolutely essential. Today’s Scripture is all about the close dependent relationship we need to have with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. The universal problem of mankind is the delusion of “independence.” This is particularly true in our western culture. In other words, we want to be our own source, utilizing whatever resources we need to achieve the outcomes we want for our lives through our own skill and hard work. To use the terminology of our passage, we cannot accept that we are branches and nothing more. We are trapped in the delusion of independence, because we think we are the whole kit and cabuddle. In reality, we were made for “dependence” on God so that the product or fruit of our lives is rooted in him and not us. God is not a resource but the one and only source that can truly make our lives count for eternity.
Here is today’s passage again. Read it, meditate on it, and let God move in your mind, heart, and life like never before. May you be moved in such a full way that you are forever settled on the reality that you are a branch, Christ is your vine, and apart from him there will be no lasting fruit from your life. “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 …. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples …. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain.”
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I am so prone to self-reliance and independence. I want to get close to you and stay close to you. Show me how to depend on you for the work I put into living my life. May the fruit of my labors be the outworking of your life in me and through me. You are my vine (source) and I am your branch. I choose to abide in you. I believe you will make my life count for eternity. Amen!
Posted on Thu, November 3, 2016
by Ken Hart