The Vine and the Branches
John 15:1-17 (NIV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other."
The bible uses gardening and fruit as a metaphor for many spiritual applications. We are meant to grow in Christ. We should bear the fruit of the spirit. Jesus is the living water that grows us. This is because gardening is something that is universal across all cultures. Every people group eats food which requires some kind of cultivation.
This passage promises us that if we grow in Him and follow His commands we will prosper and He will watch over us. This does not promise a life without pain or hardships. Pruning is uncomfortable and often comes in ways we do not expect but it is necessary to grow further.
Growing in Christ is an everyday act. You can't grow a little and expect that you are done. Chasing Him is a lifelong activity that requires wholeheartedness and perseverance.
What are you growing on your branches? What do you need to prune out to grow the fruit of God?