“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
We spent most of the last week talking about fruit and fruitfulness – and how important this fruitfulness is to God… and to us.
We learned that bearing fruit depends solely upon our connection with Jesus – Who is quick to remind us that we CANNOT bear fruit apart from our bond with Him (John 15:4-5). Jesus is our ONLY Source for fruit production – and He is the One actually producing the fruit from within us. We pointed out that our notion of “doing things for God” has nothing to do with actually producing fruit. It is vital that we begin our understanding of our Christian life with the fact that fruit is never the result of humans working… it is always God working – doing what ONLY God can do, through our lives. Jesus is the Vine (the Source of all fruit) – we are the branches (the way the fruit is displayed).
Our first task is to come to Jesus and receive Him. Jesus’ work, on our behalf, enabled us to become grafted into the Vine. But, as important as that is, being grafted into Jesus is the not the end result that God is seeking. He is intensely interested in what happens after we are grafted into Jesus.
It is with this in mind, that we will make two more essential observations…
First, there is a Scriptural principle that is emphasized time and again. It is this: God provides – but we must apply His provision to our lives. God gives – but we must receive. God does – but we must live by what He has done. God’s provision is never automatically applied to us. We must willingly accept His work – and we accept it by faith… always. We trust God in His work. We trust God at His word. Our trust is expressed by willful application of our faith.
This begins with Jesus’ redemptive work for us. We hear of Jesus’ work, on our behalf (how He carried our sins to the cross, and our sins [and sinfulness] died with Him) – and, by faith, we accept what Jesus has done for us. We say, “Thank You,” with our lives – given to Jesus, in response to His life given for ours.
At the moment we accept what Jesus has done, God responds to our faith by forgiving all our sins, releasing us from our guilt, delivering us from the power of sin over our lives, and (most important of all) by connecting us with Jesus. We are cleansed, made holy, made whole, and given a new life – a life that is defined by being IN Jesus. That is our new identity. Once we were on our own, living for ourselves, separated from God. But now, we share in the divine life – made possible only because of Jesus.
But this trust in Jesus is never a one-time thing. It is a lifetime thing. We do not just trust Jesus for our forgiveness – we must trust Him for every day afterward. We must heed Jesus words to “remain in Me…” We also do this by faith. Every day. The responsibility for our connection rests with us… “IF you remain in Me…” The responsibility for what occurs within that connection rests with God. In Scripture, God always responds to our faith with His faithfulness… but we must apply our faith to His provision (or promise), first.
God did not graft us into Jesus just to help us feel good about ourselves… or just to forgive us. He has work to do, through us, now that we have been connected to the Vine. That work depends upon our continued trust in Jesus. We, intentionally, live our lives to BE His opportunity to display His goodness in our little corner of the world. Every day we trust in Jesus to be fruitful through us, is a day God responds to our trust by using us to display His marvelous work.
Prayer Focus: God, stir my heart to simply seek You every day… to live my life in constant connection with You, and by applying my faith in You.