Thought- When we can’t, God can.
Scripture- “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” – John 15:5-8
Insight: In day 10 of learning to apply biblical principles to our daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider what it means to abide in our relationship with Jesus. Abide means “to remain or continue in a particular condition, attitude or relationship.” In this case, we must remain in relationship with Christ if we expect to bear much good fruit. For us to bear an abundance of fruit for God’s kingdom, pruning will be required from time to time. Pruning can be a painful experience in the short term, but in the long term it prepares the branches for a much larger and more abundant harvest. Pruning removes growth that is dead or dying to encourage new fruit to develop. We need clean up and pruning on an ongoing basis in our walk with the Lord, but we must remember that it is being done so that we can produce even more fruit in the future. How does God prune us? He cuts away the parts of our lives that drain precious time and energy on less than ideal pursuits. He works in each life uniquely to prune that branch in the way that it needs to be pruned. A part of us (self) must die so that a new better part can come to produce even more fruit (Spirit) in the future. Our busyness on things that don’t really matter and only serve to distract us must be removed. In their place, an abundance of fruit that comes from abiding in Him will come to be harvested. The grapes will be the fullest and sweetest we have ever tasted.
This is counter-cultural thinking. We live in a culture where we want to take the “bull by the horns,” make things happen, be responsible for our results, put in massive effort and get massive results. But often this can lead to discouragement and even burnout if we don’t meet the expectations of either ourselves or of others. In John 21:5-6 we see how Jesus illustrated this teaching to His Disciples in a powerful way. They had been fishing all night and they had caught no fish. They were exhausted, discouraged and upset. Then Jesus shows up and says this to them: “ He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” Imagine the mix of emotions running through them as they struggled to haul in the net loaded with so many fish. Their efforts had led to no results, but in Jesus they had now gained the biggest catch of their life. They were the “pro” fisherman, but He was the Son of God, and He wanted them to know they could trust Him with their lives and the assignments they would be asked to undertake.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the Vine, and when we abide in you we produce a harvest of abundant fruit. Help us to never forget that apart from you we can do nothing. We pray in your Holy name. Amen!