Message: Jesus gave us a visual picture of what it means to “remain in him”. He describes himself as the vine, us as the branches and the Father has the vineyard keeper. The branches that don’t produce fruit are removed, and the branches that are producing fruit are pruned so that they produce even more fruit. We all understand that branches can’t be sustained on their own if they are cut off from the main source. Fresh cut flowers are very beautiful for a few days and then they dry out and die because they are no longer connected to the source for life sustaining nutrients. This is why Jesus commanded us to remain in him. We need to stay connected to the source in order to live and produce fruit.
Command: Remain connected to the vine and produce fruit!
Promise: If we are connected to the source we will not only be sustained by him, but we will produce fruit and as an added bonus, we can ask whatever we want and it will be done.
Warning: If we are disconnected from him, we won’t produce fruit, and we will eventually wither and dry out.
Application: This reminds me of the importance of staying connected by reading his word and praying. I thought about how those fresh cut flowers look beautiful and healthy for a short time. Sometimes we can appear to be thriving for a short time even when disconnected. This doesn’t mean we are actually thriving, it just means that the death process can’t be seen from the outside quite yet, but it began as soon as those branches were cut. I need his word every day of my life and it’s not enough to read just enough to be kept alive. I need to be reading and applying it to my life every day so that I am producing fruit. I think there is a tendency to feel like we are being punished when God prunes us. We start scrambling to look for reasons but it states very clearly here that those who are producing fruit will be pruned so that we can produce more fruit. Healthier fruit. This is not a punishment. God has to prune out things from our lives that are sucking all of the healthy resources out of us. We need those resources to go to areas that will produce fruit. I also love to think about the Father as the gardener. I have never once seen an angry gardener hacking away at plants with rage. I have only ever seen gardeners who walk peacefully into their gardens with pride and joy as they admire their beautiful work. They trim a little here and there, and there are definitely seasons where they prune things way back so that it will protect the garden from the weather in the next season. This reminds me that God is the joyful gardener in my life and as long as I remain connected to Jesus, walking in obedience and producing fruit he will tend to my branches with so much pride and joy.