“I am the true vine….” John 15:1 (NIV)
One of the clearest descriptions of the Christian life is established in this final I AM statement of Christ. When Jesus said I am the true vine, He revealed the secret to a fruitful Christian life! In verse five, He repeats His claim and adds,
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.”
When a branch is connected to the vine, it has the life-giving capacity to bear the fruit the vine produces. The branch cannot produce the fruit. It can only bear it by virtue of remaining attached to the vine. When we abide in Christ and He abides in us, His life enables us to bear much fruit! This is a liberating truth! The emphasis of the Christian life, then, is not on producing fruit but on abiding in Christ – staying connected to Him and allowing His life to have full access in all that we are, everything we do and say.
The principle is one of union and communion. Like the relationship of a bride and a bridegroom, the marriage creates the union, but it takes daily love and devotion to maintain communion. To abide or remain in Christ means to stay in fellowship with Him daily. While it’s natural for a branch to remain connected to a vine, our relationship to Christ must be cultivated through love, prayer, bible study, obedience, and worship. We know we are remaining in Him when we see the evidence of His fruit in our lives. In Galatians the Bible says,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Only when we remain in Christ are we able to bear such fruit. Jesus is the True Vine. Our lives will never be fruitful apart from an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Willpower and New Year’s resolutions will never do it. We need His presence and power in our lives. When we realize He is the True Vine and we are just the branches, we will recognize our weakness and our need for His strength. How are you cultivating your relationship with Christ? If you’re feeling disconnected because of sin or distracted by an overloaded schedule, take some time out and reconnect. Develop the daily habit of abiding in Christ. It will bring glory to God as your life will bear much fruit!