Most people say I look like my father. When I was in the third or fourth grade, a young girl looked at my dad and me and exclaimed, “Look, twins!” Like most sons, I was eager to grow taller and gain some muscle. I wanted to grow up and be like my dad. There wasn’t much I could do to make it happen, however. I hoped and wished and did my best to eat all my vegetables; but for the most part, I simply had to wait.
Immersed in a culture familiar with vineyards, Jesus used the imagery of grapes growing on vines to explain how those who follow Him are to receive life and grow to full maturity. The characters in the vineyard are set. Jesus is “the true grapevine,” the “Father is the gardener,” and “[we] are the branches” (John 15:1,5). The roles are straightforward, but much trouble ensues whenever we confuse them.
Life flows to the branches through the vine. The vine consistently and freely provides all the nutrients the branches need in order for fruit to flourish. The branches simply soak it up, stay nestled in their restful place, and allow fruit to be produced. Jesus makes His point clearly: “A branch cannot bear fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me” (John 15:4).
To remain is to stay, to rest, to dwell (or live). In other words, our job is to live obediently in Jesus and then see God’s life flow through us, causing beautiful and luscious fruit to appear. On our own, we will only whither and die. Without God, we will be useless because “apart from [Jesus, we] can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Want real life that produces lasting fruit and glorifies God? Remain in Jesus.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 24:1-27
Read through John 15:1-17 again. What are the things that God will do? What things are we supposed to do?
How have you been most tempted to believe that you’re the source of your own strength and life? What would it take for you to simply rest in God?