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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Life in the Vine

         Is Jesus my reason for living, or does He stand on the other side of the door waiting to be invited inside? Do I believe that I am just fine, when perhaps I am really dying on the vine? When I believe that I am just where I need to be in my relationship with Him, then I am dying on the vine. 
 
“I am the vine; you are the branches,” Jesus speaks. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John: 15:5-8).
 
He is the vine, and I am the branch. If I seek Him and daily yield my heart to Him, my life will overflow with His purpose and His power. If I don't, I will fail. If I don't, there will be no direction. I I don't seek His heart, my existence is only that. Just existence. But if He is the heartbeat of my life, His Spirit brings life-giving power and strength to accomplish what otherwise seems impossible.
 
If I bring a heart surrendered to God’s purpose, then I reap His sufficiency instead my own. However, a heart that believes it has surrendered to Christ, but has not, is a heart that doesn’t realize it has its own agenda. If I bring such selfishness to ministry, I am impotent and purposeless. Instead of bringing life, I bring death. I become a branch that is picked up and thrown into the fire. 
 
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener,” Jesus teaches. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2). I don't want to be a branch that is cut off because it bears no fruit. I want to be a branch which bears fruit, and is willing to be pruned in order to bear more. It may hurt, but it is for His best and my best. “Those whom I love,” Jesus implores, “I rebuke and discipline” (Revelations 3:19a). When I bring a surrendered heart, I bring one that is easily rebuked and disciplined. It is not hardened or self-sufficient. When I am willing to listen to His voice instead of my own, I have invited Him to come in and change me. I have become a fruitful vine.

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