Read through the Bible in 2 years: Psalm 10; Proverbs 2:1-15; John 15:1-17
"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. 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 15:4-5
"By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." - John 15:8
Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit my mom’s green thumb and I’ve managed to kill every plant I’ve ever had unless they were planted outside and survived independent of any regular care. So, I was so happy when I received not one, but TWO, fake plants to put in the greenhouse window in my lovely sunroom.
But those plants won’t bear any fruit. They might look pretty and green, but they’ll never bear so much as a flower – not to mention bearing apples or strawberries. They’re really not good for anything other than looking nice. Remember, they’re fake plants.
According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, a disciple is someone who is not only a pupil but also an adherent and imitator of their teacher. Fake followers of Christ might look nice and green on the outside, but they aren’t following Christ’s commands. They’re not loving one another with the sacrificial love that Christ modeled for us. And they’re not bearing MUCH fruit, as true disciples, true followers of Jesus, will.
Do you see yourself in that last paragraph? If so, there’s hope for you. Attach yourself to the vine which is Jesus Christ, abide in Him and allow His words to abide in You. Ask the Lord to forgive you and to prune away whatever is holding you back. Repent of your sins, turning away from the world and turning toward the Lord in faith, and the life-giving sap of the Holy Spirit will fill your veins. Then, fruit will start popping out of you, maybe just a little at first – a little peace, a little patience, a little kindness … And as you cling to Him, He will bear MORE fruit in you, the fruit of good works done as you listen to the Master Gardener who died that you may have life.
Let’s pray together.
Thank You for Your amazing grace that prunes away whatever is hindering us that we can be Your disciples and bear much fruit. Sometimes pruning hurts, and it seems like it would be easier to just be a fake plant, looking nice and green, but not bearing great bushels full of fruit.
We want to be disciples of Christ, living and loving like He lived and loved. Jesus obeyed you, His Heavenly Father, and we need to obey you, too. Give us the wisdom and strength to reject passivity and comfort, and instead to put out the necessary effort to send out tendrils that hold tightly to You that we may grow higher and fuller.
Help us to remember that we can do no good thing apart from You, that we need to abide in the vine of Jesus Christ. Help us to turn to You day after day, so that Your Word will abide in us and we can abide in You.
We love You, Father. You are a good gardener, taking good care of Your garden, giving us rain and sun and snow and clouds in due season. Help us to trust You more.
In the good and mighty name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.