Abide in the Vine

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John 15:1,2,4 (NKJV)
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

These are the words of Jesus not long before He would be betrayed and ultimately being crucified on the Cross. Jesus gave His disciples and us this passage as a form of encouragement and teaching.   Although many Christians may be very familiar with this passage, today, let us look at this passage with some new insights! I have gained these new insights through my Pastor’s sermon in church and also through the instructor of our Rhema@River Bible training program.

Jesus said in John 15:1 that He is the True vine. With such emphasis made, Jesus is also teaching us that there are false vines. Vines are commonly known as climbing plants and are often associated with grapevines. True vines are those that will grow, bear fruit and bring more life through its seeds. Whereas false vines could be those imitation vines which are made of plastic and are merely used as decoration. These fake vines may look real, but they certainly do not have life! So, believe in the true vine that brings life and not be fooled by the imitations! Next, Jesus refers to our Heavenly Father, as the vinedresser. Vinedresser is the one who cares for, tends, prunes and cultivates the vine.

Since Jesus is the True Vine, God is the Vinedresser, we are then the branches. In John 15:2, Jesus said that the Vinedresser takes away any branch that doesn’t bear fruit. This “take away” doesn’t mean that the branch will be abandoned and discarded. Instead, it’s a total opposite of it. The “take away” that Jesus meant is to lift up the branch that is dropping. The Vinedresser lifts up the branch, gives it extra care and sets it up to be able to receive more sunlight. This is such a great encouragement! When we are feeling down and discouraged, God lifts us up, cares for us, tends us and showers us with even more of His love.

As for the branch that is already bearing fruit, the Vinedresser prunes it, so that it may become even more fruitful. God doesn’t want us to settle in for the good. He wants only the best for us. Yes! Only the best! He prunes away the un-necessities in our life. He helps us focus and be effective in everything we do. He cuts off all bondage that binds us. He gives us His yoke that is easy and a burden that is light. All these are so that we can grow and walk in the journey without any excess baggage. Although being pruned may be painful, the outcome of the pruning far outweighs the initial discomfort and pain. Hence if you feel like you’re undergoing a stage of pruning, take heart! The outcome after the pruning will be far beyond your imagination and understanding.

The two above mentioned types of branches have one thing in common- they abide in the vine. To abide means to stay with, to remain in, to be connected, to obey, to follow and to be united. All these are what we the branches ought to do, as we abide in Jesus the True Vine. A branch that doesn’t abide in the Vine will not receive its required nutrients and water. It will ultimately wither and die. Jesus is the source of everything we need. If we seek to live life on our own strength and be disconnected from Him, we will gradually be dried up and experience a spiritual death. That certainly isn’t the desire of God. Hence from today onwards, abide in Jesus. Remain in Him. Be connected to Him every day. Be the connector to bring others to Him. Follow all the commandments of Jesus. Be UNITED with God and with our church, River. When you do so, you will definitely bear fruit in your life!

Come join me in this prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being My Vinedresser. Thank You for sending me Jesus to be my Vine. I surrender my life to You and let You prune away any part of me that is not bearing fruit. I thank You that You lift me up when I am down. Holy Spirit be my guide, so that I may abide in Jesus every day of my life. Thank You, God. In Jesus Name I pray, AMEN!

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