I am the vine, you are the branches
One of the great opportunities that we have during this series is to memorize verses of scripture. You have the chance to take some time and dwell on the message of God to His people. Want to find God’s will for your life? Spend time in Scripture understanding what the will of God looks like in your daily life.
We live in a culture that continues to move at a faster and faster pace; we just read the headline and don’t even read the article. Tweet me the news or I won’t engage. Sometimes we treat the Bible in a similar way. Read a few verses, pray, go on with our day, repeat. While there is nothing wrong with opening your bible (or bible app on your device), there is a difference between meditating on scripture and skimming a few passages. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at our memory verse for this week and see what we can find with a careful and meditative observation of the passage.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing - John 15:5
The first thing I notice in this passage is that Jesus is our strength and source of growth. Earlier in the chapter, Jesus reminds us that the only true fruit that we might bear comes from remaining connected to the true vine. When we are relying on Jesus, we are actually strong. When we rely on our own strength, we are weak. Jesus is the vine; he is the source of all things in our life.
I also notice Jesus asking something of his followers. Jesus asks them (and us) to remain in him. To remain is to continue to exist in a certain way. Jesus calls us to exist in a way that would show our connection to the true vine. The fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) are the outcome of remaining connected to Jesus (“You will bear much fruit”).
Jesus also says that he will stay connected to us as we remain (or exist) in him. I imagine this like the feeling my children have when I give them a piggy-back ride. I ask them to “hold on to me!” but I am really just holding on to them. I will not drop them if they let go. Their hold is not dependent on my able grasp of their little body. We will never outgrow the grasp of Jesus on life. He is always holding on to us, even when we get tired and let go. You don’t have to keep striving to hold tightly to Jesus because he is actually the one holding you. He is a firm foundation that cannot be shaken.
Are you feeling burdened today? Look around and see that Jesus is holding you?
Are you feeling like you are not enough? Remember that the fruit (the outcome) of following Jesus is produced through us by Jesus himself. You are enough because Jesus is enough.
Do you need rest? Rest in the reality that Jesus is strong and able to sustain you. He does not tire from holding us; he will not let you fall.
Take a moment and write this verse down. Put a Post-It note on your refrigerator or stick it to your computer monitor at your office. Take rest in knowing that Jesus has you in his arms today and he will not let you fall. Just like my children jump on my back without fear of falling, lean into where Jesus is calling you today. You are not alone.