Day 19

The True Vine

from the John reading plan


John 15:1-27, Zephaniah 3:14-17

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Text: John 15:1-27, Zephaniah 3:14-17

I’m the queen of focusing on the wrong things.

My daughter makes an amazing piece of 9-year-old art and declares it dedicated to her mom (that’s me!)—and I silently lament the sea of paper covering the floor and the glue stick smashed into all the creases of the dining room table.

A long-lost friend says she and her family are coming to visit for a weekend—and I spend more time worrying about the condition of the guest room than rejoicing in the long conversations and late-night laughter to come.

My husband spends hours creating new storage solutions for our mudroom (slash laundry room, slash pantry, slash coat closet, slash place the dog stays during dinner so he won’t eat food off our plates)—and I involuntarily scowl that my tired, dirty, three-compartment clothes hamper will no longer fit. (Three compartments! You can understand my sadness.)

And here, in John chapter 15, Jesus says this:

Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me”
(vv. 4-5, emphasis mine).

This is what He says. But do you know what I hear? I hear, “Bear fruit.” Or, to be more specific, “Hey, you, why aren’t you bearing fruit?” I, the Queen of Focusing On The Wrong Things, read Jesus’ words and hear all of the goal and none of the grace. I want the end but forget the means.

Yes, bear fruit. Yes, love others. Yes, give grace to a world that will misunderstand and even hate us. But look back through John 15. Jesus is not commanding His disciples to bear fruit. The command is to remain. When we remain—when we abide in the never-ending, unconditional, forever love of Christ—then the fruit will come.

We bear fruit when, and only when, we are grafted into the True Vine. His Holy Spirit in us is the fruit producer; we are simply the branches who have the privilege of displaying His fruit.

Jesus Christ comes to make us new. He comes to redeem the dead branches that we are and give us abundant life! Remaining in Him—resting, dwelling, abiding in Him—is the only source of our strength, our goodness, our fruit.

Let’s focus our eyes on the True Vine today. Let’s be about the business of remaining in Jesus, and trust His Spirit to be about the business of bearing fruit in our lives.

Lord, teach us what it means to remain when all we want to do is produce. Help us to rest in your never-stopping love. Amen.

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Post Comments (83)

83 thoughts on "The True Vine"

  1. Beth Hinson says:

    I fill my life up with too many obligations, meetings, and shifts so that I can reach a goal of trying to be financially stable or be a good friend or give back to the community. All of these things are great, unless they are stripping me of my ability to rest-which they are. I breeze through my morning devotional so I can make it to some place on time, which leaves me feeling spiritually empty. There are so paychecks, events, or hangouts that can bring me the kind of peace that comes from remaining in God. It makes so much sense to me for His people to “not belong to the world.” I feel as though I am always yearning for something more, something deeper that this world cannot provide- but God can. Thank you Lord for providing me peace to remain in you and help me to learn what it means to truly do this. Help me learn about you, love you more, and love your people more each day as I continually fill myself up with your Word! Thank you Lord for being to rest that I need that the world lacks.

  2. Lindsey says:

    This devotion comes at a good time for me. Lately, I have been going through a time of humbling and pruning. It has been discouraging. I have been frustrated with the lack of fruit in my life. My heart’s desire is to live a life that brings glory to God, not just for me and my family, but something beyond that. But, I can’t even seem to get through some days without yelling at my kids and husband. I will remain. Abide. And let God’s strength cover my weakness. In patience, I have faith that my life will bear much fruit.

    1. Natasha says:

      I am right beside you in that battle. Of struggling to keep my eyes focused on the cross and not the discouraging, mundane things that are happening (or not happening!) around me. While in the midst of the refining process it is so hard to see what good things God is working on in and through us but remember he has started a good work in you and will bring it to completion. Our husbands, children, friends etc. need a wife, mother, friend etc… who loves Jesus more than one that loves getting, doing or saying the right things. Praying for us to seek Jesus to satisfy our souls so we don’t need to be in control, fear others, look elsewhere or prove ourselves.

  3. Mary says:

    I, too, tend to want to do, to labor, to reach the goal, rather than to “rest”. Today’s lesson reminded me once again the importance of Hebrew’s 4:10-11: If we must labor, let us “labor, therefore, to enter that rest.”

  4. Danya Ho says:

    John 15. Jesus is not commanding His disciples to bear fruit. The command is to remain. When we remain—when we abide in the never-ending, unconditional, forever love of Christ—then the fruit will come.

    We bear fruit when, and only when, we are grafted into the True Vine. His Holy Spirit in us is the fruit producer; we are simply the branches who have the privilege of displaying His fruit.

  5. Katy Tucker says:

    This touched my heart today. So often I want the end goal but don’t want the process. I want to ace the test, but not study. I want to make new friends, but not talk with my classmates. It’s an honor and a privilege that we can remain in Christ and produce fruit. We don’t have to manufacture our own goodness or ‘enoughness’ because He already is that. He is enough. He is sufficient; the true Vine.

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