This morning at the table my husband shared our devotional verse of John 15:5:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.”
I was contemplating how it is in spring that we see the results of things being connected to their source through hard winter months. The flowers that bloom on the trees, or from the bulbs deep in the ground have all had to endure a season that was bleak and seemingly dormant. We didn’t see much activity from the tree or plants, but there was something happening that was very important during the winter season. They stayed connected to the life source. What the appearance was on the outside wasn’t as important as the fact that on the inside the connection was there. The showy flowers and leaves of Spring are only a reflection of the abiding the branches did over the winter months. I came across this devotional thought penned by Kay Warren in her book, Sacred Privilege. She quotes her daughter Amy, who battles chronic Lyme disease and is a pastor’s wife. Amy says,
“Christianity is an inside job, which means my internal reality has the power to rise up and overwhelm my external circumstances if I choose to learn God’s ways. As the painful circumstances heave piled up over the years, I have had to choose to go underground (so to speak) spiritually to survive. The above-ground reality has been so painful, terrifying, and seemingly hopeless that withdrawing inward to a soul space with God has been necessary. But there, in what one would assume would be darkness, I have found light. I have found Jesus ready to empower and comfort me, to share his peace and give me his joy. With more physical healing under my belt, the challenge is to stay in this place of intimacy with Jesus, to not just visit occasionally but to actually live out of this internal reality. Abiding has become the single-minded daily pursuit of my soul.”
Being connected and remaining in the life source is imperative to the sustaining power of our relationship with Jesus. We must see Him as our life source and know that we will perish apart from Him. While our heads believe this for “salvation”, a way to get to heaven, we have a harder time accepting this as a need for our very existence today and true relationship with God that will bear His fruit.
During the hard times, the still times of seemingly barrenness, and even in the fruitful times of life how am I allowing Him to “remain in me, and I in him” so that he is my “soul space” as Amy said, intimately connected to him for life source?
I must recognize that Jesus claimed, “I AM”. I have to realize that apart from Him there is no true life because he is the creator and sustainer of all things. In claiming that Jesus is, I am saying that there is no other, including myself.
I rejoice in the fact that I am grafted in! He is willing to give his life to me not just for me! Yes, he died as my sacrifice but he also lives to equip and empower me to bear fruit in this world and the world to come!
I must remain (abide) in Him by keeping close to him. Keep the sense of wonder in who he is. As a branch, I will never fully comprehend the root. What I will understand more each day is how I need that source. My growth depends upon it. I will never need to worry about if I am doing enough, being enough or straying from him as long as I am letting Him live in me and it is His root power causing me to bear fruit and spread out in His kingdom! In abiding, I become more like him. Talking with Him, learning Him, praising Him and worshipping Him is how I abide.
I realize that He abides in me! We are in relationship. His life is my life. He has given himself to me so that I can be what I was created to be. His strength is my strength, his peace, my peace, His fruit, my fruit. Because he abides with me I am secure. Nothing can cause me to fear or worry when I live in the filling of His Spirit that flows through my veins! When I feel pressed down by the weight of the world, as I reach into His power He prunes that all away all the while continuing to provide the intimate source of life.
I remember the fact that the fruit is from the source of me, not my own resources. Fruit comes from the root! A daffodil bulb will not produce a tulip! Just because they both are bulbs that come out of the ground it doesn’t mean they can produce what they want. It is in the source of their root that causes the flower to bloom. I can stop worrying about the type of fruit I am producing and if it is beneficial to the Kingdom of God. I only need to abide in the source, He does the rest! Whoo-Hoo!!
My prayer today is for you to be abiding in Christ and depending upon His roots to give you abundant life so your thankfulness will overflow!
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7