Day 51: John 15:1-4

The Old Testament Prophets described God’s people, Israel, as a vine.  They used the image of God planting and tending His vineyard to symbolize His love and care for His people.  For example,

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard  on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. (Isaiah 5:1-2)

The image of the vine, however, was also used to point out Israel’s failure to produce the true and lasting fruit for which God was looking:

What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? (Isaiah 5:4)

Failure to produce good fruit and fulfill God’s purpose characterizes not only Israel but the entire human race, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  This is the fallen state of unredeemed humanity.

 

As “the True Vine,” the righteous Lord Jesus did what people were unable to—obediently follow God’s good and perfect will.  Those who believe are united with Jesus like branches connected to the vine.  They are nourished and strengthened by the Living Water, the Holy Spirit, which flows from the vine to produce the fruit of Christ-like character and disciple-making influence on others. Speaking to His disciples, Jesus assures them that they have already been cleansed, clarifying that the pruning to which He refers is God’s discipline, correction, and purification of believers.  Although extra leaves and branches may make the vine appear lush and beautiful, they sap branches of energy needed to produce good fruit.  Extra connections that compete with the production of good fruit could include social media, political causes, sports, and professional, racial, and gender identifications.  For example, are you a Christian who is a doctor or a doctor who is a Christian?  Which is more energizing: the number of virtual likes on Instagram or the face-to-face encouragement of fellow believers?

Ask yourself:  Are you connected to the True Vine?

Do you believe that Jesus is your Savior from sin and Lord of your life?

Are you producing good fruit that is evidence of faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit working in your life?

What extra connections and allegiances are pulling energy away from the production of godly fruit in your life?

Prayer:  Lord God, prune me to produce the fruit you desire.