Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Vine and the Branches

- Jesus is the Vine; we are the branches. From the Vine comes the life; from the branches which receive life and nourishment from the Vine comes the fruit. Our abiding in Him connects us to the Source of Life and divine power and His abiding in us brings a steady supply of fruit. The condition of fruitfulness depends on our relationship with Christ. A branch detached from the vine is unfruitful, dead, useless.

- "Remain"--stay, dwell in, abide. We must cling to Christ like a branch attached to the vine because apart from Christ, our efforts are unfruitful. As branches, we can only grow and produce spiritual fruit so long as we continue to be connected to the Vine. This verse gives a beautiful picture of our spiritual union with Christ and our dependence on Christ.

- "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27b)--Christ in us means that we have access to unlimited supply of His power, strength, wisdom, and love.

- "Your fruitfulness comes from Me." (Hosea 14:8b)--Our spiritual life hinges upon living in active dependence on Christ. We must remain humble; we must resist the pride that may come as a result of fruitfulness. "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." (2 Corinthians 3:5)

- "Fruit"--spiritual fruit, the fruit of the Spirit, qualities of Christian character, Christlikeness, proof distinguishing who Christ's disciples are (John 15:8), lasting fruit/fruit that makes an eternal impact (John 15:16)

- Apart from Christ (having a disconnection with our Lord and Savior, our life-giving power), our life will be fruitless, exhausted, and wasted...we can do nothing worthwhile in God's eyes. We humans are prone to wander...prone to draw strength from our own flesh.
That's why we need to be intentional about how we live. Is Christ the Center of our lives? Are we one with Christ? When we remain in Christ and Christ remains in us, we will bear much fruit. That's a guarantee!

"O to grace how great a debtor 
daily I'm constrained to be! 
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
bind my wandering heart to thee. 
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
prone to leave the God I love; 
here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
seal it for thy courts above." 
(last stanza of Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson) 

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