“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” — John 15:4 (ESV)
Abide in the Vine
I am amazed at the ways in which all of creation visibly demonstrates important spiritual principles. Romans 1:20 (ESV) says, “For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” Job 12:7-9 (ESV) says, “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?” All throughout the Gospels, Jesus likens spiritual principles to the surrounding creation. From the parables of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32) and pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46) to his teaching on the grass of the field and birds of the air (Matthew 6:25-34), it’s clear God uses creation to illustrate important spiritual principles we need to adopt as believers.
One such important principle is found in John 15:1-17 (ESV). In verse 4 Jesus says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Reflect for a minute on the process of a vine bearing fruit. It takes time, patience and consistent nourishment for fruit to form on the branches of the vine. So it is with you and me in God. We have the most abundant source of life available to us in God. God waits, patiently beckoning us to simply come and abide in Him that we might bear the fruit of abundant life. And once fruit is cut off from the vine, it loses its source of life. In order to consistently bear the fruit of God, we have to go back to our vine time and time again to receive all that God longs to give us.
You are created for intimacy with your Heavenly Father. Just as God designed grapes to only grow in connection to the vine, you are designed for intimacy with God as your one, true Source. There is no other supply of true life. There is no other process by which we experience abundant life outside of abiding in Him. Spending time resting in His presence and receiving what He longs to give us is the most important thing you can do on a daily basis. The days we try and bear fruit apart from Him are the days we will be overrun with the cares and stresses of this life. The Holy Spirit longs to fill you with the fruit of His presence every moment of every day. All that is required of you is to submit to the reality of His presence rather than go your own way. Choose to listen and receive from Him rather than leaning on your own understanding.
By God’s grace we can always return to Him as our source. It is never too late for us to connect ourselves to the vine and receive the life only God can give. It is never too late to experience the revitalization that can only come through encountering Him. And it is never too late for us to bear fruit of eternal value. God has wonderful plans for you that begin today. His mercies are new every morning. The Bible promises in James 4:8 (ESV), “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
Take time to submit yourself to God as your source, receive all that He longs to give you, and find your satisfaction in the reality of His powerful presence.
— Craig Denison, First 15
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