Abiding In Him

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8)

We have been doing a lot of gardening this year. It’s only our second year and we have doubled the size of our garden. If it wasn’t for my husband and his knowledge of gardening I’d be buying more canned food because I didn’t get the gardening gene. It also means I’ve had to research and read more and get tips from others.

Anyone who gardens knows it can be hard work but once you get the seeds sewn and plants planted, it’s maintenance after that until you reap the benefits of your hard work which is the fruit (or vegetables haha!) We also know that if the leaves or the growing produce gets removed from the main vine where you get the nutrients from before it’s time, it will wither and die due to lack of nourishment. The same goes for us. When we do not stay close to Christ, who is our nourishment, we too can wither and die. We can become unclear, see things from a wrong perspective, become more emotional, worried, angry, jealous, etc. When we receive Christ’s nourishment through the Word of God, church, bible studies, prayer, etc we stay strong and grow properly, producing fruit. What is our fruit? It’s utilizing the gifts and abilities God has given us to help others and to further the kingdom of God. It’s leading others to Christ to be saved by Him. We must seek to stay on the vine (Christ) so we will be nourished and produce much fruit. The fruit is the fruit of the spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

When we produce this fruit, we pass it on to others, sharing the nourishment with them. Many people are spiritually malnourished because they are not receiving the Word of God. They are dry and starving. How do we know this? Because they eventually realize at some point in life that they are going through life knowing there is more to life than what they are experiencing. Nothing makes them happy. They keep trying to fill a void with everything they possibly can but in the end they continue to be unsatisfied. The only one who can fill that void is God. Once a person received Christ as their Lord and personal Savior, He begins to nourish them like a baby, feeding them the milk of the Word of God. Their eyes begin to open and see things they never saw before. They will look at things differently and be on fire for God. Eventually we graduate to eating meat…the meat of the Word, the heart of the Word of God and we become more nourished and fruitful. Unfortunately, we have an adversary that wants to pull us from the vine by distracting us with other things…problems, addictions, anger, fear, sadness, etc. He will do what he can to keep our minds so distracted that we slowly stop praying and reading the bible which in turn causes us to become malnourished until we wither and die, falling off the vine. We always have to be aware of this so we do not fall victim to Satan’s schemes.

As we grow, God will prune us. This means He will begin to remove things from our lives that are not suppose to be there and deplete the nourishment trying to get to the good parts of us. This can be very painful but if you are committed and walk it through, it will prove very beneficial to you and change you in ways you didn’t know was possible! As I was reading what I could on gardening, it talked about how certain plants can and can’t be planted near each stating “The issues include cross-contamination, release of certain compounds and excessive shade cast by taller plants over smaller neighbors.” Well that makes a lot of sense! In God’s garden of people the same is true for us. We have to be careful who we plant ourselves next too. Some people may not be good for us as we are growing in Christ. They could contaminate us with their problems, their words or their actions. They may give off so much negativity that we begin to become negative. Some people may stand in our way of moving forward in Christ, overshadowing us so we do not receive the “son” light. This doesn’t mean we are to hate these people and not love them as some can even be family members. It just means we can’t expose ourselves to them as much. We can’t be near them for long periods of time or risk being weighed down by their problems and bad habits. Some plants can also deplete other plants of their nourishment. The same goes with people. Some people can drain us dry, stealing every ounce of nourishment we receive from the Lord with their negativity. This is why we must be prayed up at all times and well nourished through reading the bible, going to service and attending bible studies and doing them at home. By doing so, we can learn how not to allow others to drain us, know how to handle all situations that come our way and when to step back and allow God to take over.

Many people seem to think that they don’t have to go to church to learn about God. Not true. Christ calls the body of Christ the church and in Hebrews 10:24-25 we are encouraged to continue meeting together:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

This is so we can encourage one another to keep running the race until the end! God has given us Shepherds…Priests, Pastors, Reverends, Ministers, etc to guide us and pray for us. I know what you’re thinking… “who do I trust when so many are falling and committing sins themselves”. That’s true and that’s all the more reason we must cover them in prayer! True, more is expected of them because of their calling, but we have to remember that they are humans just like us. They are not beyond falling into sin and temptations. Truth be told, they are hit harder by the enemy to knock them out of the race because they are the ones called to lead others to Christ.

We are in desperate times as we are in the end times. We must do everything we can to remain on the vine. The only time Christ will cut us off of that vine is if we are contaminating others and not producing good fruit. He will do everything possible to heal us but we are responsible for accepting the nourishment and seeking Him for it. We are responsible for walk out our salvation and doing what we are called to do. We must take responsibility for our actions and words. It’s not enough to say “well that person upset me” and remain angry. God gave us all the solution in the bible, it is up to us to do it. When we work together with God, there isn’t anything problem that can’t be resolved, any hurt that can’t be healed and any habit that can’t be overcome. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Lord, I humbly come before you and seek more nourishment from you. I want to grow in you and produce an abundance of good fruit. I admit I have not been consistent in reading your Word and/or praying, but I ask that you give me strength to turn away from the things that distract me away from you and to turn to you so I can grow and be a vital part of your garden. Thank you Lord for your love and kindness and for the sacrifice of your life so that I may live. I ask it all in the name of Jesus…Amen.