April 9: Following and Abiding

Read John 15:1-17

In this current devotional series, we are attempting to better understand what it is to follow Jesus. The Christian life is not Jesus following us to provide rescue us from the messes of life. Nor is it Him following us to provide all of the comforts and amenities of life. It is defined by Him leading and us following.

In John 15, Jesus compares God’s purposes in our lives to that of a vineyard. Imagine a vineyard without grapes. Wouldn’t that be tragic? Jesus points out two essentials for a fruitful grapevine. First, the gardener does some painful pruning. The pruning shears don’t seem inviting, but the result is greater fruitfulness. Secondly…and this one seems obvious…the branch must stay attached to the vine. Only then can it draw moisture and nutrition from the vine and roots. Only then can it produce juicy clusters of grapes.

God doesn’t want you to be barren. He doesn’t want you to just bear a minimal amount of fruit. He wants you to bear much fruit. That is His plan for you as His follower. This fruit will be manifested in character qualities like the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23). It will include the fruit of good works ( ). It will include the fruit of souls committed to Christ (1 Cor. 3:. But that fruit is only possible as you gladly allow His pruning and faithfully remain in Him.

What does it look like to remain in Him? It includes remaining in His word (v. 7). Do you carve out consistent time to do learn from Him? Remaining in Him includes keeping His commands (v. 10). Having learned from Him, are you obeying what you already know? You remain in Him when you demonstrate His love to other people (vv. 9-17).

Can it be said that you “remained in” Christ yesterday? Will it be said that you “remained in” Christ today? So often, we can find ourselves living on the fumes of a token prayer offered up asking Jesus to “bless our day.” But there is more to the Christian experience. It is found in moment by moment drawing from Him. The result will be fruit that blesses you and others and that brings glory to God.

sbk

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