Jesus gives us the statement in John 15:1-5 “I am the true vine”. So what does that mean and how can we further explore this truth? The first thing we see is Jesus is the source. The source of what you may ask? Well to be frank everything. He is the source of life, power, victory, love, provision, protection and I could go on and on but I think you get it. In our world where we feel the need to constantly be connected to the world and where our phones are glued to our hips we understand the need for watching battery life and plugging back into the power source. You see Jesus tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing.
So what happens when we disconnect from the power source? Well like a phone running to many apps we quickly drain ourselves to the point where we realize we have nothing left. We quickly learn like a battery we are power carriers not power creators. We don’t make our own power and we can’t stay alive long without the power source. So what happens to us? We become Pharisees bragging about ourselves and our power to live the “moral life”. We begin to judge others on our clearly superior plain but become blind to what wreckless love should look like in us. Or we simply die and drift off into some distant belief that maybe vaguely believes in some sort of God but not one who is involved and interested in me and my life and my problems.
You see when we disconnect from the power we can never be more than we are on our own. I believe if any of us would search our hearts with honesty and sincerity we would find that we are selfish, prideful, angry, hateful, lustful, and shameful in our attitudes and thoughts. Apart from the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in you there lies nothing good. If you choose to cut yourself “free” of the vine you will only find death. You will only find your own destruction and the loss of all the fruit you worked so hard to produce.
Now let’s talk about what happens when you do stay connected to the vine. Well God the master vine dresser will attend to you in every way. He will watch over you. He will care for your soil and make sure you get all the nutrients you need to thrive and grow. He will water you when you need it and make sure you’re cared for. He will cover you and shelter you from any storms or frost. Most importantly when any part of you becomes unhealthy or sick He will cut those parts away to keep you healthy and producing wonderful fruit. This is super important you see over time God will show you through His word and through the community of faith the things in your life that are holding you back.
You see sin makes us unhealthy and keeps us from producing fruit as we should. When we don’t allow the master to cut away what is unhealthy it will slowly kill us. So even though change is scary and allowing God into us to search and try us as a regular practice is intimidating it is absolutely necessary to the Christian life.
While we on the topic of sin there is something in particular I want to focus on. We often allow God to remove the obvious sins from our life. We quit drinking and cursing. We quit partying and doing drugs. We quit sleeping around and living unhealthy lifestyles and we call it holy. We call it morality. We go to church on Sunday we live that so called moral life throw some money in the plate and feel pretty good about ourselves and our faith. That however isn’t holiness. It isn’t being a vine attached fruit bearing believer. You see you and I are called to live out radical love. We are called to spend time with the broken and messed up people of this world not the holy like-minded people that make us feel comfortable.
Jesus was constantly accused of spending time with and eating with sinners. He didn’t care about His reputation when we ate with tax collectors or met with the women at the well alone. He care about a lost and broken hurting world. When He feed the 5000 did He ask how many of them would keep following Him or go to His church? No he loved and cared for them because they were people he created to be loved and valued. That is bearing fruit.
So what can we take away from Jesus statement I am the vine. First you must stay connected to the vine. Second we must allow God to prune us of anything holding us back attitudes, habits, or whatever holds us back from total surrender and devotion. Lastly we must understand that to bear fruit we must love not to gain anything. Not to get them into our church. Not even to get them saved as noble as a goal as that is. Rather we must simply love because it is right. Because it is who we are as the people of God and we recognize the dignity of every single life.