FOR AUDIO VERSION CLICK HERE.Now we come to the most insightful and vivid image Jesus shares as one of His "I AM" signatures. It's the relationship Jesus wants with His disciples. Jesus is the vine and those who follow Him are the branches. Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He lifts up; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit."
Jesus continues this theme: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."
"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." Here Jesus makes it clear that not abiding in Him, your life is as unfruitful and worthless as a dead branch.
On the other hand, Jesus says, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
This is the basic teaching of Jesus that reveals SECRET #46: The follower of Jesus relates to the Master as a branch relates to the vine. What I'm learning is that abiding 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 you give yourself 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 Jesus. 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.
This is the most dynamic principle you'll ever encounter! It's a reciprocal relationship! You abide-remain, stay with, wait on, hang out with, continue with Jesus and Jesus remains, hangs out and continues with you. Are you getting this? You are created by God to be completely inhabited by Him through Jesus!
Jesus goes on to say something that blows my mind! I have read this over and over and talked about it more than most passages of Scriptures, but Jesus is speaking of a daily, moment-by-moment reality. Just as a branch is unable to be fruitful on its on, so we cannot do anything without hanging on to our relationship with Jesus. But wait a minute; I can't do anything!!!??? What Jesus is saying is that we cannot do anything without recognizing, depending upon and drawing our strength from Him. Can this be true? Is it true in your life?
SECRET #46: The follower of Jesus relates to the Master as a branch relates to the vine. So, here you have it, IF YOU DON'T ACT LIKE A BRANCH AND ABIDE IN THE VINE, JESUS, 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." It's an amazing simplicity that takes over your life-a simplicity that is really just transparency. "Abide in Me and I in you." Jesus wants to inhabit your life. All He is looking for is your willingness to cooperate!