“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing”John 15:5
The words of Jesus in this verse emphasize our need to abide in Christ. It’s only when we abide in Him, and when He abides in us, that we can be able to bear much fruit.
To bear fruit is to be what you claim to be. If a tree an orange tree, we can only know it by what kind fruit it produces. But Jesus is emphasizing here about bearing ‘much’ fruit. The goal here is not to just produce fruit. The goal is not just to claim who we say we are, but to show it by our fruits. Once we know what kind of fruit an orange tree produces, then we care about how productive it is going to be. In the same manner, Jesus wants us to be productive in our lives, and He teaches us that this productivity comes as a result of abiding in Him.
There are many Christians today who still depend on their prayers, their self-efforts, or their understanding of the scripture to bear much fruit. They believe that they can grow spiritually if they spend more time praying, reading the scripture, going out in a mission or helping the poor. Although all these things are helpful and necessary in our walk with the Lord, we need to know that it’s not doing these things that makes us grow spiritually. We grow spiritually because we are grafted into Christ. We bear fruit because Christ lives in us by His Sprit. If we depend on prayer, rather than Christ Jesus, then we are unconsciously separated from Christ, and we rest our faith on prayer, rather than Christ, to bear much fruit. Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians says,
“Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ. For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.”Ephesians 1:3-4 NET
This shows that all spiritual blessings, given to us by God to make us holy and blameless, were given to us in Christ. It’s not human efforts or religious duties that brought spiritual blessing to us. Before the foundation of the world, God already purposed in his heart to give these blessings to us freely by faith in Christ Jesus! Halleluyah! That’s the reason why Jesus said in the previous verse, “..without me you can do nothing”.
Oh if we could only understand how much we need Christ! The hardest thing for any Christian to do is to surrender. We can do what we are asked to do because we have ego. However, when we are asked to give the most precious thing we hold so dear, then all hell begins to break lose. Why does that happen? It’s because we still have not died to self.
The person who is dependent on Christ the most is the one who has died to self the most.
When we die to our accomplishments, our dreams, our will, our ambitions and make a decision to follow Jesus, then we have really understood what it means to abide in Jesus. I believe that many times, the reason why some of us m are not at the place that God wants us to be is because, we have not allowed Christ do His work in and through us. We have limited Christ to dwell only in our spirit, and we have not allowed Him to control our will, our desires, and our minds. If we have imprisoned Christ to our spirit, how can He work in and through us?
You see, Jesus is not interested in anything we do. He is interested in only in our faith. In the gospels, we see Jesus being amazed in only two things that people did. He was amazed when He saw the faith of the Centurion, and he was amazed at the unbelief of the people of Nazareth, his hometown. It’s belief or unbelief that catches the attention of Jesus. Jesus is not interested in what we do for Him. Our righteousness does not impress him, because the Bible says that our righteousness are filthy rags. He has done all the works for us, and only wants us to trust Him. In order to trust Him, we must be willing to let go of everything we hold so dear. Jesus said,
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple”Luke 14:26
There must be absolute surrender and commitment to Jesus that should not be equal to any of the relationships that we have with our relatives here on earth. Only when we give Jesus the right place, when we give Him our heart completely, He will work in and through us to bear much fruit.