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.”
– John 15:4-5, ESV
I think it’s important to remember that in this verse Jesus isn’t commanding us to bear fruit, He is commanding us to abide. Without drawing near to Christ, our fruit has no power to grow. Just like a vine wraps itself around anything it touches, Christ will wrap His hands around us, as long as we make the effort to stay close to Him and abide in His Word. The measure we let Christ grow in us is the size we are allowing our fruit to grow. Simply, obey God and the fruit will come naturally.
The main lesson I took from John 15:4-5 is to be careful wanting the end result and forgetting the means of getting there. Sometimes I feel the need to skip steps or ignore the process to achieve something faster. This habit is always a temporary fix and never leaves me satisfied with what I do. Just like anything we do in life, our relationship with Jesus is a process. It’s a learn-as-you-go, sometimes confusing, and slow journey that forces you to recommit yourself to Him every single day. It’s not always smooth, but in the end, it’s completely worth it to have a Father up in Heaven who is on your side and who loves you eternally. The vine and the branches have reminded me of this because sometimes I crave a perfect relationship with Christ without wanting to put in the effort. It’s hard to pray every day, be constantly in His Word, and have full trust in the Lord. But I try to remember that it’s the small steps, small prayers, and the small acts of kindness that keep us connected in our faith. Jesus is patient and there is no rush to creating the perfect relationship with Him, in fact, it’s not expected of us to ever get there.
So, enjoy the journey of getting to know God. Be patient and give the fruit time to grow right. Learn to know God, not just know of Him. God will be patient with you when you think you can do things on your own and He will encourage you when you realize you can’t. Keep a childlike faith, always being open to discovering new things about what the Lord can do in your life and the successes and blessings will follow.
It’s also worth pointing out that Jesus never says to abide in Him without also saying that He will abide in us. Our relationship with Jesus is not one-sided and can’t thrive without equal participation from both us and Jesus. The branches without the vine can’t fulfill their purpose, just like the vine can’t bear fruit without the branches. Jesus promises to never leave our side, never abandon us, and to never let us live on our own. Because of this promise, we can faithfully and confidently lean into Him knowing that He is strong enough to hold whatever we can’t carry. Just like the vine is the foundation of the branches that bear the fruit, Christ is our foundation that allows us to thrive.
Dear God, thank you for your infinite patience with us. Help us to trust you for each step of the way. Amen.