Tuesday 8th January
It surprise’s me when I see small plants grow in the middle of street roads. They grow so powerful that they sometimes cause the tarmac to crack. Or how about when you see trees grow in a barren dry desert. The answer is simple. Its sources are unseen to the human eye. So often the roots of these plants or trees go far beyond what we would associate with their size or location. The plants and trees dig deep into the earth’s resources to pull out from it the nutrients that will aid their growth. We only see the by-product of the hard work that has been invested by these plants.
This is much the same in our lives. When we tap into God’s eternal source of Love and Joy our lives change and bear the fruit of one who is drawing from the True Vine. Today’s passage talks of this Vine. Jesus describes the Father as the Vine Dresser (gardener) and Himself as the Vine. We (humanity) are the branches. Jesus goes on to describe the Fathers roll in this metaphor. His job is to cut off the branches that do not bear fruit and to prune the ones that do so they will bear more fruit. In actual fact this methodology of pruning a vine tree is one that was and is commonly used in the gardening world. Jesus again is using examples that all people would have understood.
Jesus warns the disciples that in order to stay part of the Vine they must abide in Him. His teaching would prune and purify the believers and in turn would produce good fruit. Those who did not believe His teaching (consequentially do not bear fruit) would be cut and thrown away like useless branches to be burned. The two types of “branches” both are given the same opportunity to listen and to remain in the Vine, yet their response will determine their eternal fate.
Those who do stay in the Vine, hear Jesus’ teaching (The Word), listen to it, obey it and live it out in their lives will bear much fruit and glorify the Father through their lifestyles. A gardener takes pride in making his plants beautiful even if it means pruning them but the end product is beautiful and well worth the hard work. So it is when we bear good fruits, God the Father gets the glory. The question is how do we stay in the Vine tree?
The answer is found in the pictures of the barren desert tree and the rose in the middle of the road. Digging deep into God’s eternal source, not only provides us with direction for our lives, saves us from our sin, gives us joy, but also sustains us in life’s hard journey. Jesus’ love for us is unprecedented. No one can even compare the love He has for us. It is eternal, unending and it is His very character. Yet we are warned in verses 9 and 10, that in order to remain in His love, we must obey His commands (His teaching). That is not to say God would love us any less but rather that we miss out on the intimate relationship that is gained from abiding in the Vines eternal source.
The blessings of remaining in this love are that we would be called the ‘friends of God’ and that in accordance with God’s will we may ask whatever we need and it will be given (Verse 7)(fruitful prayers). A fruitful believer is one who is firstly obedient to God’s words, abides in His divine love, is willing to be pruned (getting rid of attitudes and attributes in your life that corrupts your character) in order to bear more fruit and one who has his roots deep into the Father’s heart, so that whatever may come his way, he will not be moved. Are you living as a fruit bearing believer whose roots are in God’s eternal source??