By: Alyssa Lucas
Recently, I was reading John 15 in preparation for this devotional and I really wanted to come up with something that would be interesting and enlightening. But this particular chapter is pretty straightforward: Jesus is the vine, I’m the branch, obey the commands, spiritual success. There wasn’t a whole lot to expound upon. Since I’m not knowledgeable about horticulture, I decided to see what Jesus actually meant by saying there’s a difference between a vine and a branch. (Honestly, they look the same to me).
The actual vine of the grapevine provides all nourishment to the branches, lifts them from the ground, supports their growth and anchors them through its root system. All that the branches do is produce fruit through the nutrients given by the vine and receive pruning which is experienced from the hands of the “husbandman” or gardener.
After learning this, I excitedly told my mom, “This is crazy! Christianity literally has nothing to do with us!”
And it really doesn’t. Jesus didn’t come and get tortured to death for us to fight for redemption like He never showed up. Our part is to be a part. To make Him our home.
There’s no amount of hard work that can compete with the transforming power of Christ living in you. Believe me, I’ve tried working my way into good standing with God. Even as a Christian.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s great value in striving to be a better person, changing negative habits, etc. However, at the end of the day, without Christ’s power working in my life, all my efforts are useless. The only thing to do is surrender completely to His working and accept His ability to change me.
The branches of a grapevine don’t walk off to find food and water. Nor do they pick themselves off the ground. Nor do they grow into the ground and develop their roots. All a branch does is stay closely connected to a vine and bear its fruit. Jesus is calling us to the same.
Stop striving. Stop trying to do it alone. Stop trying to create the life change for which you long. Instead, just abide. Take up residency in the Person of Jesus Christ. It’s not following rules or doing everything right. It’s just surrendering to His love. Because if you truly come in contact with His love for you, loving Him will be automatic.
This is not to say we have no responsibility in our Christian walk. We have our part to play, but doing something for someone you love negates the idea of it being a chore to check off a list. Then it’s just an act of love. Which is absolutely all He wants from us: To live in His love and presence.
Receive His power to lift your head again, to stand strong during temptation, to stay alive spiritually, to become an overcomer where you have failed. Let His strength overpower your weakness.
“Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (v.30).