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
Jesus spoke these words the night before He was crucified. Picture Him standing amongst the grapevines between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives and telling the eleven some of His most important truths. In Isaiah 5, God spoke to Israel about how they were His vineyard, but they rebelled and they yielded wild grapes.
Jesus announced that He is the true vine who did not rebel and now He was to produce good fruit through those who abide in Him. Abiding in Jesus means to rest in Him, trusting in His saving work in your life. Have you ever been around people who wear you out just by being around them because of their striving? Perhaps they have never learned rest in what Jesus has done, believing that they have to control everything around them to make things happen.
Instead of it being up to us, it is the Holy Spirit who works in us to get things done, to bear fruit, and to stay connected to Jesus. If we live with this vital connection to Jesus, with the Holy Spirit’s enabling power, we will bear much fruit. A healthy grape vine produces many grapes. A healthy Christian produces spiritual fruit. That fruit is the evidence that Jesus is at work within us. Some Christians who do not seem to bear fruit. My guess is that they really do not read the Bible, pray much, or have a vital relationship with Jesus that truly changes their day to day agenda.
Many Christians are busy for God, but aren’t necessarily fruitful. They get involved in programs out of duty, thinking this is the way to please God or to earn His favor. They “work for God,” but don’t understand the abiding relationship told about in John 15. They are well intentioned, but are not fruitful or joyful.
Abiding in Jesus, resting in Him and listening to His voice as a way of living the Christian life brings answered prayer and joy. As we live close to Jesus’ heart through being in the Word and relational prayer, He places His plans and purposes on our hearts. And when we do those things, we will see God use us and bear fruit through us.
Psalm 37:3 promises, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When you are connected to Jesus, He will put His plans, purposes and desires into your heart. You may begin to dream about things you never thought of before because God has put it on your heart. Instead of signing up for every opportunity that comes your way, it is best to wait for this leading from the Lord as you pray about what to do. When you follow that leading, there will be fruit because it is a task that God purposed for you to do.
Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. We must stay in close connection to Him through His Word and in prayer. Guard your relationship with Jesus and don’t let other things get in the way, including sin. Keep a clean slate before Him. When you do, watch and wait for Jesus to bear fruit in your life.
This is from Corrie Ten Boom’s book Not Good if Detached (pg. 42) about John 15:6:
“If the connection between the branch and the vine remains, the fruit comes from the vine. The branch does not help the vine. The vine does not help the branch. The vine does everything, and the branch must keep connected with it. That electric lamp there does not help the generator, the generator does not help the lamp. The generator gives all the power. The lamp must only be connected.
You do not help the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not help you. The Holy Spirit does everything–the only condition is that you must keep in contact.”