Thursday, August 21, 2008



As we continue following the image of being fruitful as you make like a branch hang on to Jesus, the vine, we come to John 15:6-11. Jesus explains what happens to those who think they can do something without Him--those who believe they can live their lives successfully without hanging out with Jesus.

6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 

Jesus moves from speaking about people to plants. He warns that if anyone does not abide in Him, there are severe consequences. In the case of plants when the branches don't remain connected to the vine, they will end up in the fire. NOTE 3 things here:

 FIRST, branches that don't abide in the vine dry out, because there is no life-giving nutrition allowed to flow through the vine into the branch. Disciples who don't abide in Jesus, the Vine, also dry out, because they are not receiving the life of Jesus.

SECOND, branches that don't abide in the vine become completely useless, because there is no fruit being produced. Fruit is the purpose of the life of a plant. Disciples who don't abide in Jesus, the Vine, are also completely useless and unfruitful. 

THIRD, branches that don't abide in the vine are thrown away, gathered up, and are cast into the fire to be burned in the trash. Disciples who don't abide in Jesus, the Vine, are thrown aside and trashed, instead of fulfilling the purpose and mission for them. I don't see this as referring to a disciple's salvation, but usefulness and purpose. Dallas Willard adds to this potentiality of not abiding in Jesus: "For the one who makes sure to walk as close to Jesus as possible there comes the reliable exercise of a power that is beyond them in dealing with the problems and evils that afflict earthly existence. Jesus is actually looking for people he can trust with his power. He knows that otherwise we remain largely helpless (and useless) and unable to promote his will for good in this world with adequate power."

So, here you have it, IF YOU DON'T ACT LIKE A BRANCH AND ABIDE IN JESUS, THE VINE, you not only can do nothing significant, but you are attempting to live a life that is absolutely useless and unfruitful. All you are left with is "What might have been."

In verse 7 Jesus returns to those who abide in Him when He says:
 7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 

This is such a powerful statement to hear! Again He says "If you abide in Me" and now He adds and My words abide in you". What I'm learning is that this abide in Jesus as a branch abides in the vine must be purposeful. It means arranging your life, arranging your prayer-asking and listening, and arranging your silences in such a way that there is never a day when we give ourselves a chance to forget Him. 

Now, if you are abiding in Jesus in this way, the more you become like the vine itself-you walk, talk, think and love just like Him. Your thoughts are so permeated with His thoughts that your inner character is being transformed. Then, it is easy to understand that your wishes are the same as His wishes, so you are walking in sync with Him and whatever wish you ask will be done for you. Now that's mind-boggling! But not out of the realm of possibility and reality. Otherwise, Jesus would not instruct us to be like this.

An amazing simplicity will take over our lives-a simplicity that is really just transparency."
Abide in Me and I in you. Jesus wants to inhabit your life and all He is looking for is your willingness to cooperate!