It’s fall. Could this possibly be the best time of year? Hot days give way to crisp, cooler weather. Bugs are gone for a while. The harvest is upon us! One visit to a local orchard and you’ll see the fruits of the season literally falling from the trees.
In preparation for this blog, I’ve been reading John 15 every day for a few weeks. I wanted to let the words of Jesus sink in and resonate. They have started speaking to me. I’ll give you some excerpts here, but if you get the chance, and have about four minutes to spare, look up John 15, and read it in its entirety.
This is Jesus’ famous message about the vine and the branches. Jesus likens Himself to a vine, naming us, (His people) as the branches, and referring to God the Father as the Gardener. Can you see this beautiful, natural picture forming in your head? Can you picture God walking into His garden, up to His most prized possession, The Vine?
I imagine God diligently visiting the garden, shears in hand. His ultimate goal is to keep the Vine strong and fruitful. Pruning commences. Special attention is paid to each individual branch. He is the Master Gardener.
It’s just like Jesus to use an example like this to help us relate and understand our position and role in the spiritual realm. We can’t live without the life-giving nutrients provided by our Vine. The Vine is pointless without providing good fruit. That’s where we come in. In verse 11, Jesus proclaims that His joy is full in us and our joy should be complete in Him. I think that might be the best part of this chapter.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11
He delights in us.
It brings God joy to see us produce fruit. In turn, He wants us to live completely joyful lives. All we need to do is remain attached to the True Vine. God will do the rest. He’ll prune and care for us so we will reach maximum fruit-bearing capacity.
But we’re not talking apples and oranges here. What is this, “…fruit that will last” Jesus speaks of in verse 16?
The lasting fruit can be many things, but the key is found here in verse 17:
“This is my command: Love each other.”
In order to bear lasting-fruit, we have to love. First we love God, embrace His pruning, and the fruit will grow. Spiritual fruit comes in many forms, as unique to each of us as our own individual personalities. But you will bear it, in season.
Over and over, in John 15, Christ calls his audience to “remain” in Him. He tells us to stay with Him, grafted into the True Vine.
Sisters, His love for you and me is great. It’s the greatest kind of love ever shown. Verses 12 and 13 command us to “Love each other as I have loved you.” It goes on to say that, “Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.”
His love is great.
Can you hear Him calling you to love others in your own great way? Can you hear Him asking you to lay things down in order to love someone? He laid it all down. He set the example. What is it that you and I can lay down in order to love better?
The list is long.
It’s harvest season.
What’s your fruit? I’d love to hear how you’ve been pruned and what kind of fruit it has produced. What are you hearing Him call you to lay down in the process of loving people greatly? Will you share it?
Writing in answer to His call,