John 15:5 (NKJV)
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
I used to wonder exactly how someone abides in Christ Jesus until I heard Pastor Prince saying there was nothing easier than remaining where you are. First, he said that I said to myself that he has never met me of course that why he thinks its easy. However, as I heard it over and over again it became clear to me that this really just an issue of right believing. Pastor Prince says that right believing leads to right living and so for change to happen in our lives, we need to believe right. The word says that you are a branch, it doesn’t say you should try to be a branch, so who are you going to believe, Jesus or your circumstances?
When you look at your life, even as I look at my own, you might like me see the lack of fruitfulness and the lack productivity and conclude you are not living the vine life after-all. And you know what, I don’t know about you but I can truly say I wasn’t. In John 15 verse 2 Christ says every branch in me that does not bear fruit the Father takes away and prunes so that it may bear much fruit. While this sounds bad at first, it doesn’t actually mean that he cuts you. Pastor Prince talks about this and he says that in Israel, the pruning of the vine is when they clean the vine branch. So basically ‘He takes away’ means He lifts it up from the ground and puts it on some kind of trellis where it can grow and bear fruit. The pruning which really means cleansing is when He washes the branch to clean it of all the dirt it picked up on the ground.
Young’s Literal Translation brings this out.
John 15 `I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman;2 every branch in me not bearing fruit, He doth take it away, and every one bearing fruit, He doth cleanse by pruning it, that it may bear more fruit;3 already ye are clean, because of the word that I have spoken to you;
In verse 3 it goes on to say that ‘you are clean because of the word I have spoken to you.’ Pastor Prince explains this by saying that the words from Christ where He says He is the vine and we are the branches are the words that cleanse us. The word of Jesus cleanses you from whatever is stopping you from bearing fruit, it washes off the dirt. For example, some of what has stopped productivity in my life are fear, anxiety, and depression. The Lord Jesus’ words that He is the vine and I am the branch means that my life is connected to Him, I have a oneness with Christ.
We all know that Jesus Christ is not fearful, He is not anxious nor is He depressed. So if I am a branch, I survive from the life-sap of the vine, while I may bear the fruit, it is created in the vine and produced in the vine-life. As I spend time in that word and realize who I am in Christ, it will lead to right believing as my mind is cleansed from the wrong beliefs. Right believing will lead to right living as the revelation of my nature in Christ takes root. what would I have to be fearful about, or anxious about or even depressed about when I know and believe that it is not me who is in control and it does not all depend on me but on Christ. He provides whatever it is I need to bear fruit.
I was and am connected to the vine because Jesus says I am, I am a branch and because I am in Christ that is never going to change but the honest truth is I could live the rest of my life like I am not. It is like a man dying of hunger when he has food in his bag, maybe because he does not know he has the food or maybe because he does not believe that he has the right to eat it. Either way, the man’s death could have been prevented by eating the food. In the same way, as a branch, I should be living a productive life and bearing much fruit. The moment I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, I was in Christ and now all I need to do is to rest in Him.
The bible also says that Christ is, so are we in this world, as He is at the Father’s right hand, so are we in this world. When we read that, what do we believe? Do we believe we are or we think we have to work at being as He is? How many times do we choose to believe we are failures instead of grabbing onto the word and believing what His word says instead of what our life says? If right-believing leads to right-living, can you guess what wrong believing leads to? We could live the rest of our lives choosing to believe the world around us instead of believing the one who created us or we could choose to live the life He has planned for us by believing Him.
In 1st Corinthians 1, the word says that of the Father, we are in Christ, and John 10 verse 28 says that no one can pluck us out of His hands, so we are in Christ, given to Him by the Father and no one can take us away from Him. And we also know the word says He will never leave us nor will He forsake us so we know that He abides in us always once we are saved. Now what is left of us is to believe that He is in us and we are in Him and because of that we can bear much fruit. Coming to this realization was a relief for me because abiding in Him had begun to look like just another thing I was going to fail at.
So now I have the answer to the first step towards living the vine life, and that is believing what He says. It didn’t happen overnight and I am still working on my right believing. Every time I read or meditate on that verse I remind myself that this is my reality, this is my truth, I am not trying to be a branch, I am a branch and He is the vine. To live the vine life and bear much fruit, we all need to believe what His word says and live by that word. We need to believe what the Lord Jesus Christ, who knows us better than anyone ever could, says, that we are branches and as long as we abide in Him then we will bear much fruit.
So no matter what happens in your life, believe right, believe that God is not a man, He cannot lie. He is the vine and you are the branch, and in Him, you will bear much fruit.