“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
In John 15 Jesus likens our daily walk with him and our Father to a vine. And He speaks of fruit coming from this walk. He and the Father are one, and therefore make up the vine. We are the branches that grow from the Vine. So what is the fruit that grows from us?
I used to think that fruit was just souls that I had led to the Lord to be saved. I am now seeing that although this certainly can be part of what fruit is there is more to bearing fruit then just this.
Fruit is not something that is from without the vine, and comes to attach itself onto the branches, it is what comes forth from the very depths and innermost being of the vine through the branches to appear on their outermost tips. The fruit can then be imparted to give life elsewhere. But again fruit is not me putting forth something good of myself so that others will want what I have. No, fruit comes from the branch that abides in the vine, that stays where it’s called to grow and receives its life from the vine.
In the same way a branch doesn’t attach itself to the vine, it grows from the vine, from receiving the food the vine gives it to grow by. We are the branches, Christ is the vine. He says, “He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” God desires fruit, much fruit, but he has given us one thing to do, abide. Not strive to bring forth fruit but rather receive fruit as a by product of abiding.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus is the Vine but he is also The Word of God. We are told to keep God’s word. Keeping the word is how we abide in Christ and how Christ abides in us. It is where man’s soul is exchanged for God’s soul. Keeping God’s Word is a matter of spending time alone before Him and taking a part of His word to think on it. Repeating it over and over, asking him about it, praying it back to him, and simply receiving it as true.
This is how we abide and grow and become stronger and stronger. It is through the word, the very nature of the vine. The vine itself infuses into the branch and becomes food for it to grow by. We must receive the word over and over again if we are to grow.
The word abiding in us is the potential for fruit to come forth from us. “Without me ye can do nothing.” Apart from the word there is no life abiding in us and therefore we cannot possibly yield fruit. Fruit is a result of a life yielded to the way that is not his own and seeking the face of God.
But we can be forgetful hearers of the word. We can spend an hour in the morning diligently seeking God’s face but only allowing his life to reach the base of our limb. What do I mean? We can leave the hour we spend with him and go into the day thinking our own thoughts doing our own will. Never drawing from him, His life and will throughout the day in every area of earthly relationships or activity that must take place. And then when we come to him again we cry out to him in pain and frustration because the same struggles, attacks, and hurts received from others remain, and no victory won.
Why? Why is there no victory? Didn’t Jesus say that abiding in him would bring forth much fruit? And this is the light he shed. Abiding is the whole day through! And the fruit is himself gaining more and more of the soul yielded to Him and then flowing out of that soul into everyday life!
The early morning is the time for eating the food for which to run on, for chewing and breaking down the nutrients of the sap. The day is for running, for receiving the life of the nutrients to run by, taking hold of the sap, and allowing Christ to form within us his life and then flow out of us to others. James put it like this, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straight away forgets what manner of man he was. But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues there in, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25
We easily forget who we are and that we continually need a Savior. We need to constantly be looking at Jesus (the perfect law of liberty) and be receiving Him the whole day through. Receiving what he has promised and living in what he has commanded, by his life alone.
We are not to be forgetful hearers but doers of the work. What is the work? He tells us in James 1:26 “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridals not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” Also earlier in the chapter. Verses 19-21, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and excess of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls.”
We are to lay aside the old man, which is crucified with Christ, and each moment that he tries to lift his dead, and decaying head to press us to respond with his old motives, and self asserting pride in order to be resurrected from his grave, and once more bring about a worst death then his own, it is then that we are to lay aside all the old things, and put on Christ who we have been crucified with, and who we now are clothed in. Living from him who is able to save our souls. The only reason we fail is because we fail to believe and receive the living word. If we will refuse, by his power, to receive our natural responses in every day life, (when we hear a voice within us saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it,”) and instead take him at his word that we received only hours ago to be with us, to forgive through us, to cleanse us from the battles, to love through us, to pour out his Spirit as living waters to our thirsty soul, to strengthen our feeble hands, and to be our mighty man for deliverance, then and only then will the life of Christ be able to rise past the base of the limb, and flow through each passage into every little twig, and burst forth into victorious fruit! Then and only then will Christ be produced in, and through a life.
“Life and death are in the power of the tongue”. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” The fruit that comes from our mouth and actions tells what we are abiding in. Jesus said, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:6
If our fruit is that of death, if we are not receiving Christ in our daily intercourses with God and man but instead are partaking of selfishness, pride, the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things, then we are separated from the vine and are withered.
There is no power at this point to withstand being gathered by men and cast into the fires of bitterness, self-pity, and despair. We partook of the old man and are therefore burned. And will continue to be burned and wither, and burned, and wither if we do not take God at his word in simple trust and willful obedience.
“He will never leave us or forsake us.” He is able to graft us back into Himself again. He is willing and desiring to receive us back into himself as many times a day as we step out from him. As long as we are willing to humble ourselves and receive His chastening.
A branch does not grow big and strong all at once. And the fruit is a gradual growth as well. It is a process. But if we are not willing to enter by humility into this process, and are not willing to suffer through learning the discipline of taking up our cross daily, to turn the other cheek, to count everyone else as better then self, and allow our flesh to die, then we are stopping the life source at the threshold of our souls branch, and will never be overcome by Christ but will be overcome by this life.
“Herein is my Father glorified (recognized) that you bare much fruit, so shall you be my disciples.”
We must give God jurisdiction over our every day, over our every thought, and everything that concerns us. Christ living in and through us is the fruit that God wants produced. This fruit is evidence that we are his disciplined ones indeed.
– Rachel F