“I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.”John 15:5
Jesus stated here that He is the Vine and His followers are the branches. This verse emphasizes the importance of a branch abiding in the vine it comes from, meaning that it is absolutely necessary for Christ’s followers to abide in Him. It is only the branches which abide in Him that will produce worthwhile fruit.
Look closely at a vineyard. You’ll see that the vine and the branches are attached, like your head is attached to your body. Jesus is referring here to branches that now are, or once were, in union with Him by a living faith. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12). Close union with Christ is the real message here.
An orange hanging on a tree doesn’t try to find a way to make itself plump and ripe. It just hangs from the branch, and, with proper care, when the right time arrives it becomes ripe and ready to feed someone. It is only natural for the vine to produce fruit through its branches. It doesn’t plan ahead or work at it. You need to just hang in there with Christ, and let the fruit He is producing in and through you develop naturally and mature. Then it will be of benefit to others. Christ is telling you here to just abide in Him, because you can’t produce fruit on your own. Are you abiding in Him? If not, there is no way you can produce fruit for Him by yourself. Your intentions may be good, but you can’t make plans and projections on your own to fulfill your goal of bearing fruit for Christ.
You can find all kinds of ‘Christian’ projects going on these days that look good, but they have not been initiated or directed by the Spirit of God. They are therefore actually just a waste of time and energy and money.
You simply cannot bring forth any worthwhile fruit unto God separate from the power of Christ living within you. Only fruit produced as a result of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will be worthwhile in the end.
Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you start out grafted into the Vine, which is Him. You slowly become part of the Vine and it feeds you. If you continue to grow with Him, your life will start to bear fruit. It will not be much at first, but soon you will have more than you started with. And it won’t be long before you will have much fruit coming forth from your life. It is the power of Christ’s presence and His Holy Spirit in you that will enable you to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Then the love and peace and righteousness of Jesus will come forth from you and through you.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and you are the branches” (John 15:5a). He meant that you need to be united to Him and to commune with Him by sincerely believing in Him. As you faithfully stand for Christ and practice your faith in Him with action that is steady, serious, and energetic, it will be accompanied with His blessing and assistance. The Holy Spirit will inspire you to do what Jesus wants. This is where you will find the only way for a believer to become fruitful in holiness.
This will be your indisputable method to get all the supply you need from Him. You will gain both the influence of His Holy Spirit and His comforting presence. He will protect you and provide for you and direct you by His Word. Continue on united to Him. Doing this on a regular basis, like daily exercise, will become necessary in order to produce works of righteousness, both from within and without. Then you will be like a branch on a vine, laden down with fully developed fruit!
But if you defect from your loyalty and relationship with Christ, you will lose His influence over you and what you produce. No one who is separated from the True Vine can bear any fruit that is worthwhile. Only the one who abides in Christ is able to produce worthwhile fruit. Christ alone is the vine and the fountain and spring and source of life. His branches don’t have any life or power apart from Him. You need the grace of God and the power of Christ in you, or you cannot produce action that pleases God, any more than a dry, withered branch can produce succulent fruit. You are nothing, you have nothing, and you can do nothing at all that is truly spiritual and acceptable to God if you do not abide in Christ.
Jesus told us: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5b). Underline that in your Bible. How often we try to do things for God which always fail in the end. Then we realize, when we are finally able to see the truth of the matter, that apart from Jesus, “I—can—do—nothing!” But Paul declared in Philippians 4:13: “…I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
So remember: Christ comes before fruit. Remain attached to Him and trust in Him. Depend on Him by remaining near His heart on a regular basis. In this way He will be your constant source of strength and fruit, because He will be in you. And then, the more fruit you bring forth, the more you will abound in what is good, and the more He will be glorified!
[Image credit: Jassy Onyae/unsplash]