Jesus told the Parable of the Vine and Branches (John 15:1-6) to show us how to become productive people in regard to spiritual fruit. From this parable we learn that our lives can become increasingly productive as we bear “fruit”, “more fruit” and “much fruit.” Moving from one stage of productivity to another corresponds to our maturity as we grow from “babyhood” to “childhood” and finally to “adulthood” in the Christian Life.
FRUIT THAT GETS BETTER
As with any fruit tree that produces fruit, is pruned and continues to produce, its fruit gets continually more delicious and rich. As Christians who are also growing spiritually, our “fruit” of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) will also get more rich as time goes by. So what is the key to this abundant fruit in our lives? It is the “sap” that flows from the Vine to the branches.
FROM FUNCTION TO FLOW
The branches have only one function, and that is to “receive” the Sap that flows from the Vine continually. We must learn that the branches can do nothing without the Sap, the Holy Spirit that is given to us, from the Vine, which is Jesus Christ. If there is little flow of Holy Spirit into our lives, there will be little fruit produced, and if there is a great flow of Holy Spirit there will much fruit. The key is to learn what Jesus meant when He said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). We are not to struggle to produce fruit from our own flesh, or self-effort. No, we are to continually receive the flow of God’s Divine Life into our spirits by spending time in communion with Him daily, resting in His Presence and waiting for the Sap to flow from the Vine.
Coming to the place of rest in Him is to realize that we are in absolute dependence on Him for Life. When we know we are totally dependent, we wait without anxiety, knowing He will give us what we need. If we are to speak to someone about Christ, we are assured that His Life in us will flow from us to the person we seek to reach with the gospel. If we need longsuffering to deal with a difficult person in our lives, we need not struggle, but to look to Him for the Sap to flow and bring forth the beautiful fruit of Christ-likeness in us. If we are challenged with a problem that needs to be solved, we rest in the assurance that Wisdom will flow into our “branch” and bring the solution. In our own “selves” we can do nothing, but through Christ we can do all things necessary (Philippians 4:13), because we have learned to depend on Him and allow His Life to flow into us as the Sap flows from the Vine to the branch.