Reading: John 15
In chapter 15 we read the well known passage where Jesus describes the importance of us being in close relationship with Him. As Christians, we need the consistency of Jesus in order to bear fruit in the same way a vine needs the consistency of a branch to be fruitful.
A common trap we can fall into is abiding in Christ; being attached to the vine, for a while. We’re doing well and we’re ‘being fruitful’ until one day we realise that the fruit has become old and nothing fresh seems to be appearing. We suddenly start to look at all the aspects of our lives to try and figure out where we went wrong or, more often, who wronged us. We realise we are a branch that’s no longer attached to the vine. We may be at the bottom of the vine, still close enough to see the fruit all the other branches are producing and we wonder what happened to us? How did we get here?
John 15:4-5 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. 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.”
The fruit that Jesus is referring to here is the Fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control). How often do we look back on our week and think, “you know what, I’ve become a really grumpy, impatient person recently – I mustn’t be abiding in the Lord appropriately!?” Almost never.
As humans we like to blame the elusive ‘life’. This is easy because ‘life’ never defends himself, an easy scapegoat on all accounts. We can’t possibly consider peace, patience or joy in our current circumstances and say, “life has just been busy” or “life has been stressful” or “life isn’t going to plan”. While I don’t doubt that we all get thrown curve balls that can throw us off; things happen and circumstances arise, I feel as though our reaction to such things is rooted in what we abide.
Jesus says that He is the true vine, which leads us to the well-known fact that as humans we can sometimes abide in the wrong things and in this case, the wrong vine. When we place too much of our time, effort, love and commitment into anything else but Jesus, things go wrong. If we allow our circumstances to define us, our lives will be one big rollercoaster, leaving us never sure of what’s coming next. Our circumstances do not define us, but how we react to them does.
I challenge you to consider the power of your reaction. Is it filled with faith or doubt? Is your first instinct to go to God when things get hard? The Bible talks over and over again about God’s love for us, and the power we have through Him to overcome anything life throws our way.
Today, choose to let Him be the source of your life. Abide in Him, and He will abide in you.
Contributed by Alexa