Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit. For apart for me, you can do nothing.”
I distinctly remember when I first studied this passage as a teenager and I am reading it and I was reading somebody who’d written on it. And they specifically point out, I don’t know why I distinctly remember this, but they specifically pointed out that as a follower of Jesus, my primary responsibility was not to bear fruit.
Our primary responsibility is to abide in Jesus. Lord, help us to abide in You.
I remember kind of being struck by that like, “Ah, I thought that’s what I’m supposed to do. I want to do good things for Jesus. I want to do this and that and have an impact for his glory.” But I remember learning this verse, calls us not to bear fruit, but in this verse, Jesus calls us to do one primary thing to abide in him. “I’m the vine” he says. “You’re the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.”
In other words, you abide in me and I will bear my fruit through you. And you don’t have to worry about fruit bearing if you are abiding. The problem is when you’re not abiding apart for me, you can do nothing. Oh, let that soak in. Nothing. You can’t do anything apart from Jesus. So just think about your life. Think about all the ways maybe you do. You want to bear fruit. I want to bear fruit like I want to be a good faithful, loving husband. I want to be a good faithful, loving dad. I want to be a good faithful, loving pastor. I want to do all kinds of things for the glory of Christ in the world, but I can’t do anything. Nothing.
Jesus said, “Nothing apart from abiding in me.” I can’t be the husband, the dad, the pastor, the man God has called me to be. I can’t do any of those things apart from abiding in him. The primary responsibility in my life before loving my wife or my kids or leading in the church or anything, the primary responsibility in my life is abiding in Jesus. And I just want to say to you based on this verse, the same exact thing. Your primary responsibility is not to bear fruit. Your primary responsibility today, tomorrow, the next day and the next day is to abide in Jesus. To love him, to love his word, hear his word. That’s what he goes on to talk about. And the next part of John 15. Just abide in my word.
He says, “Pray according to my word.” Verse seven, here in John 15 is the verse after which this podcast is named Pray the Word.
If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish it will be done for you. The whole point of this podcast is to abide in God’s word and to pray according to God’s word. Knowing that we ask according to his word, we will have what we’ve asked.
So, God, I pray for that right now in my own life and in the lives of those who are listening. We pray together. Help us to abide in you, to remain in you, to walk in intimacy with you through prayer, through meditation, on memorization of study, listening to your word, obeying your word.
And God, we pray that as we abide in you, we pray, we ask that you would bear fruit through us, that you would make us good, faithful, loving single brothers and sisters, husbands, wives, moms, dads, grandparents, coworkers, neighbors, friends, family members. God, please help us to be good, faithful, loving in all these ways. Help us to lead people in Jesus. We pray the fruit of our lives will be people coming to know Jesus. God, we confess. We can do none of these things without you. Nothing.
We are totally incompetent people in every way and so we pray. Help us to abide in you, you and us. And as we do, we ask you to bear fruit through us that is far beyond anything we could ever do on our own. Jesus, even as I pray this, I praise you. We praise you together for the privilege of abiding in you. There’s nowhere else we want to be than remaining abiding in you. So help us to do that day after day after day to make this our primary focus in Jesus name we pray. Amen.