“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1
Jesus was still speaking to his disciples in the upper room at their last supper together. Again, he is using imagery that would mean something to them when he is trying to teach them something. There would have been vineyards all around them, so they are no strangers to them. They would know the care it takes to grow a vineyard. They would know the way the vinedresser tends to the vines and what he does to them, even when they appear to be dead with no leaves right down to when they start bearing fruit and the way he has to support them as the grapes get heavy. They would know the imagery that if you cut the vine off from the source, there will be no fruit bearing and there will be no life to the vine. They also would know that sometimes it may appear painful as the vinedresser cuts away branches that even appear to be healthy but in doing so, there will be more fruit in the long run. They know that a branch cannot bear the fruit by itself, that it must abide in the vine.
Abiding that is the key, not just getting up and reading a devotional, not church attendance, not listening to praise and worship music. Although those things are all good things and they help with the abiding, they point us to the abiding. Abiding is actually getting to the point that your thoughts have kingdom purpose in mind. Abiding is knowing that if something is against God’s will for your life it is not good for you to pursue. Abiding is knowing He is with you every step you take and every breath you breathe. Abiding is knowing that you can’t take another step without Him. Abiding is living for Him, loving Him and dying to yourself and your wills and desires. There is a verse tucked in here that I have highlighted in my bible.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7
I wonder when I highlighted that verse. Was it when I was looking to Him to do something for me? Is it because I was looking for the secret to getting Him to answer my prayers my way? That is possible. But when I look at it today. I realize the reason we can ask whatever we wish and get it, is because of the abiding. Maybe I knew that when I highlighted it. I hope so, but probably not. You see when we are abiding in Him, we aren’t going to ask for something that is against His will. It is not possible to do so. If our thoughts are to bring glory to Him, which is what abiding in Him looks like, then there is no way our selfishness should creep in. If it is creeping in, we better check the door! Are my prayers outside of God’s will, are they just for my own selfishness? Or are my prayers for the good and the glory of His kingdom? There are times that my prayer is for something that may seem selfish and I am not sure of God’s will. If I am not sure of the direction I always ask Him to change my heart on the matter if that is what needs to happen. And then I try to be open to the change! Oh how I want/need to remain connected to the vine.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9
Lord I want to ABIDE in your love. I want to retain the connection to the vine. I can’t unplug it from myself and plug it back in when I want it. It would, I would wither and die if that were the case. Help me to know how to abide in You! Lord even when I feel like I am being pruned, when you are cutting away things in my life, help me to remember that it is for your good and your glory! Amen!