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 from me you can do nothing.
Just as a branch needs the sap of nourishment from the tree, so do we need the same from Jesus Christ. The branch is attached, and attached tightly; it’s not on the ground, or off doing its own thing. It is bonded (even if grafted in) to the plant itself. We should be so firmly bonded to Christ and in Christ, that there is no break between Christ and ourselves.
And Jesus shows us the benefit of this: when we are In Christ, we will bear much fruit. When we go off and do things ourselves, there may be a result, but it is not bearing spiritual fruit in accordance with the Will of God, for the Purposes of God, in the Timing of God, and to the Glory of God. Jesus also says,
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
This is a sobering thought. When we are not in/attached to the vine, receiving nourishment and direction, we may be doing things, but not bearing the correct fruit. It is as if we were a foreign, invasive species of plant trying to imitate the original plant. Others may think that we are part of that plant, because we have mimicked the original; however, we have no part in the original plant. Jesus gives us this direction as well:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
When we have our identity in Christ – when we solely and ONLY identify with Him – we will bear much fruit, receive nourishment from the vine, and find the small gate with the narrow path. Once we do that, we, like Christ, will be able to say,
“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Our citizenship will be solely in the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than in earthly things, like race, ethnicity, nationality, religious denomination, Northerner or Southerner, political affiliation, sports team, male or female, Jew or Gentile, slave or free, or any other thing on earth. For when we identify with Christ, all are ONE in Christ.
So, let’s ask the question: With whom or what do I identify most?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, we thank You for the wonderful opportunity to be reconciled to You through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. You love us so much that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us on the cross. Lord God, we have been set free from sin; but we were made to worship and serve. I greatly desire to serve You and You alone. Remove from me any and all identity with earthly things that would hinder my walk with you. You have shown me the small gate and the narrow path. Guide my feet, my heart, and my mouth, that as they see to glorify your name in and offer themselves as a living sacrifice to You, that my feet would not slip, and that they would not wander off the path. Bring revival to Your body, that it would turn away from the draw of temporal blessings and set our hearts on Heaven, so that our treasure may be found there. This I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.