Crosses             LBG                  HateLove

Devotional - week of January 7, 2007


making a difference

 

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

 

All true followers of Jesus want to make a difference. They want God to affect the lives of others through their lives and their churches. Jesus explains how this can happen in the vine and branches passage found in John 15:1-8.

 

Before a grape branch can produce grapes, sap must rise from the ground through the vine to reach the branches. The vine is essential to the production of the fruit. Jesus is essential for believers to produce spiritual fruit. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “Without Me you can do nothing.” In order to produce fruit, believers must abide in the vine which is Christ Jesus.

 

The believer that is abiding in the vine is the believer that is in communion with Jesus in a spirit of obedience because Jesus desires to incarnate Himself in the life of the believer. In this state of obedient communion with Jesus, the believer is looking for and is awaiting directions from Jesus concerning what he is to do next.

 

Jesus says in verse 2 that the Father prunes those in Him who bear fruit so that they can bear more fruit. In a growing season a branch may grow many feet. Therefore, the dead wood must be cut back to make it possible for more fruit to grow. This is symbolic of God removing things from the believer that hinder his obedient fellowship with Jesus.

 

Jesus tells his disciples in verse 3 that they are clean because of the word He has spoken to them. Jesus is not changing the subject. The words prune and clean come from the same root word. Jesus is saying that pruning away the things that keep the believer from having obedient fellowship with God comes in two ways. It comes through God-given circumstances and it comes through the believer’s willing response to the teaching of God’s word.

 

The most severe cutting back that can be done in the life of believers is the holding back of the power of our sin nature—our thinking we are wise. In addition to God’s sending circumstances that take away our faith in ourselves, we must do our part in holding back the power of our sin nature by experiencing our spiritual crucifixion.

 

When this happens, we will spiritually affect the lives of others.