â€œYou didnâ€™t choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.â€
John 15:16 (WEB)
We are to go and produce fruit. And the fruit that Jesus is speaking about is what Paul would later number: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) Yes! It is picturing myself on Jesus’ vine and growing plump with fruit that is more beautiful than my imagination can fathom! But I cannot do it! I can not make one fat ‘grape’ of kindness grow by myself. The fruit does not come from my work. Fruit comes from the vine that I am attached. It is all that good ‘food’ and ‘water’ coming though Jesus that fruit comes bursting forth!
â€œI am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that doesnâ€™t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch canâ€™t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.â€ John 15:1-5 (WEB, my emphasis)
Jesus chose me when He died for me. I chose Him when I bowed my head and said, â€œI need You, Jesus!â€ And so Jesus spliced me into His vine and the good food and water infused me. Snip! Snip! OUCH! Pruning does not feel good! David, Isaiah, Peter, and Malachi all described it as refining. Either process involves cleaning out the diseased or impure parts and allowing fruit to grow. Right now, today I can say that it is all worth it! I am able today to see from where I have come. It is a time of encouragement to savor and continuously thank my Lord! Some days I am clawing my way through the mud and cannot see. The Gardener is so good and so diligent. Because HE does not grow tired or weary, He is in His garden constantly giving water and food and pruning. Remaining on the Jesus Vine! Without Jesus, I can do â€“ only nothing. Zero. Zip. No-thing.
Every day is a gift. Every day God wants to give to me. He wants to extravagantly give to me. â€œCome you who are tired and know you cannot do it all â€“ and I will give. Free. A gift. A simple concept but not an easy one because I do â€“ nothing. Oh how amazing!
It is in growing this fruit that God’s Kingdom is built. It is in the giving and receiving of these gifts that God’s Kingdom grows. It is God.
But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (WEB)