“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me… By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”—John 15:4, 8, 9
We should be shocked to realize that Jesus says that if we are not fruit-bearing Christians, we are really of no use whatever to God! Even more sobering, He says that if anyone does not bear fruit, he is “thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (v.6).
Some interpret this to mean that true Christians who stop bearing fruit can lose their salvation and be burned in the fires of hell. Other passages, however, teach that those who are truly saved will not be lost (John 10:28-30). So it’s best to understand this to mean that (1) some branches were never really connected to the vine, or (2) that the fire refers to the judgment of believers, not the fire of hell. At any rate, let’s not miss the bottom line: if we do not bear fruit, we are displeasing God.
The fruit Jesus was speaking about undoubtedly was the fruit of the Spirit—the qualities of the inner life that bring glory to God: love, joy, peace, etc. This fruit grows silently within us, but manifests itself in outward attitudes and behavior.
To abide means “to live or dwell.” In practical terms it means a constant and conscious dependence on Christ every day of our lives. We yield to Christ in the morning, but then repeatedly affirm our dependence on Him as the day continues. Through such submission and faith, the Spirit is free to work the supernatural changes within our hearts.
If you are following this blog, you know that we recently prayed that we would “die to self.” Another important step in the process is to depend solely upon Christ each day and thus “abide” in His strength and power.
Let Us Pray
Father, I pray that You might enable me to “abide in You;” that is, rest in Your provision and love. I pray that I might not only bear fruit, but much fruit for Your glory. May I not be a branch that is barren, a branch that is “thrown into the fire.”
And now I pray for _____ that they might come to know You and trust You with their lives and future. I pray that they might see that You are well aware that we cannot change ourselves; You do not expect us to bear fruit by our will power but by dependence on You and Your blessed Spirit.
Help us to confess every sin that stands in the way of abiding in Your promises. Help us to simply be clean vessels that rest in Your spiritual resources and strength.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.