JANUARY 29 – FEBRUARY 4, 2017
“Take care that you live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.” (John 15:4 TLB)
I was reading John 15 recently and it dawned on me that the branches the husbandman was cutting off because they were not producing fruit (John 15:2) were still firmly attached to the vine. Even though they were still connected to the vine, our feature text above indicates that they were already severed from the vine because they didn’t have any fruit on them. Interesting! In other words their relationship with the vine had already ended even though they were still seen as connected to the vine. That’s the reason why they were not producing any fruit.
It is important to note that branches alone do not actually produce fruit, they display the fruit produced by the tree. That’s why one can cut off all the branches from a tree and if it’s an orange tree, it will still produce oranges. To stop the tree from producing fruit, it has to be destroyed from its roots. That’s why when Jesus cursed the Fig tree in Mark 11, even though no one could see its roots underneath the ground, it was observed that the tree had died from its roots (Mark 11:20) because it had withered. How did Jesus curse the tree? He said no one will ever eat fruit from you again. For His words to be obeyed by the tree, it had to die from its roots.
The indication to the husbandman or vinedresser that the branch had already been severed from the vine is that there were no fruits of the vine displayed on it. What really interests me is that the branch was still on the vine even though it was disconnected from it already. We are not told that the branch had broken off or that the leaves had dried up. Just like the Fig tree in Matthew 21, it was probably covered with leaves. How can it be covered with leaves and it be cut off because it had no fruits to display. Again, like the Fig tree, those leaves are a deception. The branch was just hanging there but not plugged in. Without the fruits, it was not properly representing the tree because by their fruits, we shall know them.
Consider this with me if you would; the branch could have been performing other roles apart from displaying fruits. It could have been providing some shade or a resting place for birds and other animals… but no, it was considered useless because it was not displaying any fruit of the tree. It was just there hanging there carrying out its own agenda.
The bible lets us know that we are the branches, Jesus is the Vine, and the vinedresser is the Father. Hmm… so we can seem to be connected to Jesus but actually be severed from Him if we are not displaying His fruit.
This must be what Jesus meant in Matthew 7: 22-23, when He said that on the judgement day many will say they worked hard for Him but He will tell them He doesn’t know them. Why? Because they were just there hanging on Him but not plugged into Him. Oh my! It’s not what you do “for” Him, it is what you do with Him and what He does through you. What do you do with Him? You plug into Him. And what does He do through you? He displays His fruit through you. Therefore, you live in Him and He lives in you. When this happens, you will ask anything and it will be done for you.
Jesus has told us not to be impressed with charisma but to look out for character (Matthew 7:16 MSG). Charisma without character is like the fig tree covered with leaves but no fruit. Charisma is deceptive. It is not the real deal. A charismatic person without character is a branch waiting to be cut off by the vinedresser.
If we are to look out for the fruit to determine what tree it is, what then is the fruit of Jesus? “The fruit the Spirit produces in us is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” Galatians 5:22-23. This is the character of Christ in us that He wants us to display to the world. This is what indicates that we are not just hanging on Jesus but are plugged in to Him. This is what being in a relationship with Jesus produces in us.
Dear Reader, if we are not displaying the fruit of the Spirit, we are just playing religion. And though religion may look like we’re plugged into Jesus because of all the things we are “doing for Him,” we are in fact severed from Him because religion will not produce the fruit of the Spirit. So, don’t just hang there, plug in!
Be fruitful! I pray that you will live the way the Lord wants you to live and experience a supply of all that you need. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen!! Enjoy an amazing week!