“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
I have been both encouraged and challenged by this passage in John 15. I long to bear fruit for Him through my life. And yet, often times, I choose not to “Remain in Him.” Just like you, I can see the fruitful life that flows from me to others, as a result of remaining in Him. Alternatively, I am keenly aware of situations, where I would have been more effective loving people, had I chosen to remain in Him more.
So, what encouragement can we receive from John 15? I don’t know about you, but I find myself requiring motivation to stay focused. In that light, I can see from reading John 15, that there are promises/motivations for those who remain in Him. He promises that if we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit (John 15:5). Did I hear that right, “Much fruit?” Yes! Jesus did not say that we would “Bear a little bit of fruit,” rather He promised that by remaining in Him, we would bear “Much fruit.” What a motivation to continue in Him!
Next, He promises that as we remain in Him, His words will remain in us (John 15:7). Through many long days, when the valleys were deep and dark, I received hope from those who spoke His words to me. On many occasions when I could not find a way to perform normal daily tasks, friends who were unaware of my intense struggles spoke words of life to me. Those words strengthened me to hold on to Jesus and not lose hope. As a result of being a recipient of life-giving words, I have longed to speak words to others that would be like “apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Psalms 25:11) So, as we remain in Him, His words of life will remain in us. He longs to fill us with His words, so that we can give them away to those who need them.
Finally, He promises that as we remain in His love, which is obeying His commands, His joy will be in us and our joy will be complete. (John 15:9-11) Wow! I like the idea of His joy being in me and my joy being complete. It’s the obedience aspect that is not so easy or desirable at times. What are His commands? From Luke 10:27, we understand His commands: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself.” As Jesus instructed us in John 15:5, “…apart from me, you can do nothing,” we are reminded that we cannot keep His commands without remaining in Him.
“Remaining” is defined in Strong’s Concordance as: abiding, continuing, dwelling, enduring, being present, standing and tarrying. So, as we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit, be a recipient and giver of His words of life, and our joy will be complete. May we be refreshed today as we reflect upon the fruitful life that comes to us by abiding in Him; as well as, the fruit of His life that we can plant in other’s lives, as a result of our remaining in Him.
Scripture references taken from the New International Version