Long ago, on a blog far far away, I posted this picture of my Mandevilla plant in early October. As I was considering Jesus as our True Vine, the memory of this blog post came to my mind. See, you can still observe the vibrant flowers of this plant, but the truth of the matter was that my father had just pruned the lower portion of the plant with its roots from the flowers. The Mandevilla's fruit remained in bloom, but not for long afterward. As you can imagine, a flower won't last long without its food source.
I've always treasured the conversations between Jesus and His disciples during the last days of His earthly ministry. The things spoken were perhaps the most important to leave with His disciples.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
John 15: 1-2
My earthly father, a vinedresser, tended my Mandevilla plant. The beautiful magenta blooms had done their job and now they were spent. It was time for my dad to prune it and tend to it in his garden house during the winter months so it would bear more fruit one day.
As children of God, we have been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand. Those deeds may vary considerably, but some fruit that should appear will include growing more and more in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and evidencing fruit of the Holy Spirit. As these things are present, we will see ourselves loving God and others more. Of course, some of us may have vibrant fruit and others of us may have buds, but James tells us that it must be present (James 2: 17)
So, does this mean I try harder? I get to work and out-do everyone else? Just give me the Christian To-Do List and accomplish every task? Well, that might be possible for a time...but, ultimately, to have any eternal fruit, we can't do anything on our own. We must be connected to our Source of Life and that is, of course, Jesus, the True Vine.
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.
John 15: 5
Nothing! This is such a humbling truth to me. In order to do anything of eternal importance, I must "remain, continue, stay, dwell, reside" in Christ. It is through Him that I receive power to produce godly fruit and this glorifies the Father.
As I consider Jesus' priestly prayer before He faced the Cross, I want my desire to be more like His and I can't dream of this apart from abiding in the True Vine.
I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
John 17: 4