The absolute, most important single act of the children of God is making space to encounter our heavenly Father in the secret place. Abiding in God is the foundation on which every other aspect of the Christian life finds success. It establishes roots which enable us to receive all that we need to bear the fruit of the Spirit. It guides us to constant refreshment and revival in God’s presence, thereby supplying and sustaining the abundant life God intends for us. My prayer is that you would be marked by wonderful, satisfying, and fulfilling encounters with the presence of God as we look at John 15:1-17 this week. Make room in your heart and mind to rest in the love of your heavenly Father as we look at the different ways we are to abide in the true vine of God.
I am amazed at the ways in which all of creation visibly demonstrates important spiritual principles. Romans 1:20 says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” Job 12:7-9 says, “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?” All throughout the Gospels, Jesus likens spiritual principles to the surrounding creation. From the parables of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32) and pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46) to his teaching on the grass of the field and birds of the air (Matthew 6:25-34), clearly God uses creation to illustrate important spiritual principles we need to adopt as believers.
One such important principle is found in John 15:1-17. In verse 4 Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” Reflect for a minute on the process of a vine bearing fruit. It takes time, patience, and consistent nourishment for fruit to form on the branches of the vine. So it is with you and me in God. We have the most abundant source of life available to us in God. God waits, patiently beckoning us to simply come and abide in him that we might bear the fruit of abundant life. And once fruit is cut off from the vine it loses its source of life. In order to consistently bear the fruit of God, we have to go back to our vine time and time again to receive all that God longs to give us.
You are created for intimacy with your heavenly Father. Just as God designed grapes to only grow in connection to the vine, you are designed for intimacy with God as your one, true source. There is no other supply of true life. There is no other process by which we experience abundant life outside of abiding in him. Spending time resting in his presence and receiving what he longs to give us is the most important thing you can do on a daily basis. The days we try and bear fruit apart from him are the days we will be overrun with the cares and stresses of this life. The Holy Spirit longs to fill you with the fruit of his presence every moment of every day. All that is required of you is to submit to the reality of his presence rather than go your own way. Choose to listen and receive from him rather than leaning on your own understanding.
By God’s grace we can always return to him as our source. It is never too late for us to connect ourselves to the vine and receive the life only God can give. It is never too late to experience the revitalization that can only come through encountering him. And it is never too late for us to bear fruit of eternal value. God has wonderful plans for you that begin today. His mercies are new every morning. The Bible promises in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
Take time to submit yourself to God as your source, receive all that he longs to give you, and find your satisfaction in the reality of his powerful presence.
1. Meditate on your need to be continually connected to God, your true vine.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4
2. Ask God to make his presence known to you. Believe his word that his presence is real and tangible and that you can experience him by his grace.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
3. Draw near to your God and find life in his presence. Allow his nearness to heal the broken and weary places of your life. Let his Spirit flood the dry areas with his perfect love. Have patience and rest in God. Be slow to speak and move as the Spirit lays a foundation for you to continually bear the fruit of his presence in your life.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
As believers we are created to live, think, act, and feel with the Holy Spirit. We were never intended to do life apart from God’s presence, and through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we don’t have to. We’ve been filled with the very Spirit of God himself who longs to shepherd us into the deeper things of God. May we have the humility to acknowledge our need of God and the faith to believe that he is real and will guide us into a better, more fruitful life in him.
Extended Reading: John 15:1-17