In John 15 we have Jesus explaining that he’s the vine, and weirdly enough our hope. A connection with Jesus is how we connect to God. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, and into the presence of God.
When Jesus said it is finished on the cross, he did his work. He gave us a bridge. His death and resurrection gave us the ability to connect with God again.
That’s what sin does, it keeps us from the creator of the universe. It blinds us from the source of hope, love, and joy. Yes, we live in a fallen world and pain abounds. But when you’re connected to the source of life, those things become slightly more bearable.
John 15: Jesus, the True Vine
15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.John 15: 1-8
God Is The Gardener & Jesus The Vine:
Jesus liked to speak and teach in parables. And I don’t believe it can get clearer than this one.
Jesus is the vine, God is the gardener, and we are the branches. Branches get pruned (but not removed) so they produce more fruit.
Pruning hurts, and it really sucks, but it draws you closer to God. The pains of this earth are pruning, and sometimes the bad choices we make (not all the time though sometimes we’re just dumb).
But God uses every situation in our lives to draw us closer to him. The painful ones, and the joyful ones. They all speak to our hearts of a great love that is calling for us.
For me, a lot of times the pain speaks more clearly than the joy. Maybe it’s a lifetime of abuse speaking. But for some reason, I hear God more clearly in the pain.
I hope that’s the opposite for you, and I don’t mean I can’t hear him in times of Joy. It’s just harder for me.
As long as you’re bearing fruit you have no fear of anything going wrong. However, if you aren’t bearing fruit, you’re useless on the vine and taking up space and resources. This is when you get cut off and thrown into the fire.
This Terrifies Me:
Not gonna lie, I’ve been a follower of Jesus for a long time. I know how the game is played and I fall into it sometimes. However, I’m terrified that someday this will be me.
All my life I’ve put effort into serving God. I worry that someday I’ll slow down and become one of these vines. Sometimes I wonder if I’m slowing down now.
At that moment I start to pray, and I earnestly seek the face of God. Sometimes his presence shows up, sometimes I feel peace.
I’ll also pray for a while and nothing happens, but in praying my worry goes away. My focus restored I can move forward.
Have an active prayer life and relationship with God, listen to his voice, and it’ll keep you producing fruit.
John 15: Remain In His Love
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.John 15:9-17
Verses 9-17 explain staying alive on the branch better than I ever could (and I just tried LOL). Stay in his love. Spend time with him. Pray, Fast, Listen. Don’t forget to read the Bible.
John 15: The World’s Hatred
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.
22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures[a]: ‘They hated me without cause.’
26 “But I will send you the Advocate[b]—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.John 15:18-27
Handling The Worlds Hatred:
I’ll just come out and say it. “I’m a coward.”
I used to go out and tell people about Jesus, I was part of a ministry school and it was part of our curriculum. However, as I’ve gotten older and adult responsibilities have fallen on me. I’ve stopped doing the things that God has called me to do.
One thing God created me to do is write. Up until 3 days ago, I’d given up on writing anything. I was frustrated and felt like God had abandoned me.
I would say things to God reminding him how long I’ve been doing this. But God reminded me that I haven’t been putting in the best effort.
I’ve let fear and what people think to get the best of me.
Jesus says right above my words that we’re going to be hated. It’s not an if or when. It will happen. But they don’t hate you because of you. Instead, they hate you because of who lives in you.
A few months back I started doing a personal fast/refocusing whatever you wanna call it. My goal was to get closer to God and still is.
If you find yourself full of fear, and you’re a coward like me. Pray for the Holy Spirit to come and transform you.
Remember there’s nothing you can do to stop people from hating you because of Jesus. But you can show them his love, and that love might transform their hearts.