“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
We have a large flowering shrub in our front garden. Or should I say we had; our neighbour’s cows always liked to stop off for a bit of a nibble on it over the wall as they walked past on their way home to be milked. Sometimes it was like the first day of a big sale – the ‘girls’ would shove each other out of the way to get to this shrub. One day, sadly I think it all must have been too much for the poor shrub and it snapped. I looked out of the window and saw the biggest branch, the one with all the juicy leaves on, lying across the flower beds, still hanging onto the trunk by just a thread of bark. I tried to re-graft the broken part back onto the trunk by all sorts of means, and for a few weeks I was all excited because the broken branch looked as though it was going to be ok. The leaves stayed green. The flowers continued. But sadly it has now died. It turns out it wasn’t properly connected to the trunk, so wasn’t able to get the nourishment it needed, and of course a branch can’t thrive on its own.
Jesus tells us in John 15 that whoever abides in Him will bear ‘much fruit’. He also tells us that without him we can do nothing.
We can do a whole LOT of nothing in our own strength.
We could run from this good deed to that, from this meeting to that; We could strive and work hard and people-please, and attempt to ‘God-please’, all in our own strength. And it might even look like we’re thriving – to the onlooker.
We can actually choose to do a whole LOT of nothing in our own strength.
But the problem with relying on our own strength is that it’s actually a kind of rebellion. It’s like the toddler trying to wriggle her hand out of her father’s saying, in her babyish way, ‘me do.’ It’s saying to Jesus, ‘I’ll do it my way’.
Eventually, just like the branch that became disconnected from my shrub, we will start to become dry and withered.
The only way we are empowered for this Christian life is to abide in him.
Abide means to live permanently. To remain.
In other words, not just to visit now and then. Not partially connected, like the branch of my poor shrub, but fully joined to and connected to the Vine – Jesus, who is our source of strength, life, joy, power, peace, and everything we need.
In these short few verses Jesus says to us, “stop all your striving. I’ve got this.”
I’m so thankful He has!
PS: Below are items from my shop Miss Maisie’s Wee Shop, where I sell my handmade jewellery and wall art with Biblical & prophetic themes. To view more photos, details, or to purchase just click text directly under photo.