We all want to matter in life; to have significance, purpose, and meaning. In these words, Jesus is spelling out how we can do that, and it boils down to this – apart from me you can do nothing, just like a grape branch can’t produce grapes without being attached to a vine.
So what does it actually mean to be attached to the vine?
Specifically, in these words, Jesus is referring to grapes, something that was very familiar to the people of His time. Grapes are the most widely used fruit in the Bible and for good reason. When we think about what we will produce in our lives, we can think of grapes, because grapes can serve a lot of purposes.
Grapes can be eaten fresh off the vine, pressed for grape juice, pressed and preserved for wine, or dried for raisins. Grapes live beyond their life on the vine.
No matter what season you find yourself in –
You are feeling fresh and refreshed, ready to step into whatever God has called you to.
You feel pressed like the world is coming at you from all sides.
You feel pressed and hidden away like you are going through the struggles of life alone.
You feel dried out, tired from “religion,” worn out from the constant push and pull of life.
No matter where you find yourself, God wants to do something in you and through you. Grapevines can’t just grow anywhere. It takes a master gardener to find the right place with the right water, soil, and sunlight for a grapevine to flourish.
And the same goes for you. You were planted by the Master Gardener Himself – intentionally, carefully, and with a purpose.
When we abide with him, (remain in him, doing daily life, step by step, moment by moment with him), he promises that we will bear much fruit. Our work is abiding, His work is growing. Our work is remaining in His love, His work is making us lovely. Our work is enjoying the soil, the sun, and the water; His work is to make grapes that can be used to His glory.
If we abide with Jesus, we will bear much fruit. That’s a promise. He’s the vine. Who we are stems from who He is. Stop straining and striving, and rest in what only God can give you. This is where growth happens. This is where the fruit is produced. Isn’t that what we all want? To bear fruit, good fruit.
We can examine our life by asking ourselves – are we producing good fruit? The kind that gives life. Today, and every day moving forward, your work is to rest in His work for you. Apart from Him, you can do nothing, but in Him anything is possible. We remain in him, and we will bear much fruit.
Look around at your relationships, your actions, and your mind. Is what is being produced on your branch good and lifegiving?