“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser." John 15:1
The Vinedresser and His Vineyard
The role of a gardener is an arduous one that requires wisdom, patience, and an understanding of how to cultivate growth. This path is no different for vinedressers, the gardeners that take care of the growth of grapes in a vineyard.
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2
God’s pruning is not meant to hurt us, it is meant to purge us of the things that are keeping us from operating at full capacity for the Lord. It is disconnecting us from the overgrowth of laziness and complacency, negative self-talk, selfishness and impatience with others. It is the cutting off of fear, doubt, and belief that we are incapable of doing what He asks of us by placing us in situations where we are forced to rely on Him.
“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” John 15:3
And so it is for us. God is the Vinedresser. Christ is the True Vine. We are the offshoots of the Vine that must be connected in order to bear fruit, be healed, set free, delivered, and made whole. Our connection with Christ, the Living Word, and our belief that He is the Son of God, is what makes us clean.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4
Dormancy occurs when you are in a situation where it seems everything you want is not coming to pass. Doors are not opening, people who have been part of your support system fall away, you lose a job, a car, perhaps a house. These seasons are painful because you do not know what is happening and you feel like you are alone…but you’re not.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
We all have a habit of telling God what we're going to do. These conscious, or subconscious, actions show up when we decide we want to do what we want to do, when and how we want to do it, with minimal input from God. We don't call on Him to intervene until we're lost and our lives are in shambles.
This is not how God intended things to be for us.
“If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown in to the fire and burned.” John 15:6
Our spirits wither when we are not connected to the True Vine, our Lord and Savior. You can find evidence of this in your life. It looks like toxic relationships filled with chaos and confusion; wounding yourself by speaking death over your life; not recognizing that you are a child of God. These withered experiences take you right in the fiery furnace of life…but there is hope!
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.” John 15:8 CEB
The Christian Standard Bible’s (CEB) translation of John 15:7 states: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you”. According to Webster’s Dictionary, to “remain” means to “stay in the same place”, to “continue unchanged”, and to “be part of, not destroyed, taken or used up”. These three definitions offer vital insight into understanding what and how God wants us to develop relationship with Him.
What about you? What are you allowing to keep you from being obedient when God calls? Is it television, a person, obligations at the office? Well, what if I told you that the fact that God is coming to you is a huge sign of the trust he has in you? He is calling you to see how willing you are to deny what your flesh wants in order to activate your spirit to do his will.
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love." John 15:9
Love means being patient AND kind even when you’ve overslept, you’re late for work, and your daughter wants you to stop everything to listen to what she has to say. Getting exasperated, losing your temper, and saying harsh words are not part of the love equation. Loving with patience and kindness is not always easy, but, though prayer, the Lord will strengthen you in this area. Remember, with God all thing are possible (Matthew 19:26).