“I am the Vine, you are the branches, if a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Love felt for our victorious Lord is the first evidence that we are His disciples. That totally natural and heartfelt emotion is inspired by our gratitude. It is also an inner witness of the Holy Spirit! This is a quiet confirmation that we truly belong to Him. The Bible explains, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:16) We will automatically be empowered by God’s indwelling Spirit to spontaneously call Him – “Father” (see Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
When we love the Lord Jesus deeply, then our personal testimony will increasingly be used to produce love for Him – in others. He spoke to the Apostles about this love calling it spiritual fruit when He said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
Our spiritual objective is to emulate the lifestyles of those who have effectively served our Lord before us. Following their examples, the fruit of our love for Christ will inspire saving faith in new generations of spiritual seekers. This will be the direct result of staying connected to the Vine.
Remaining in Christ, who is our Vine, is normal because Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28) However, The Lord also warned that the life-giving power of His Spirit can be grieved through our willful choices to sin. The Scripture therefore says, … “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30) God’s power in us for effective service can easily be diminished by unconfessed and unforsaken sin, so prayerfully plan to be a healthy branch!
Sin reflects an attitude of the heart which restricts the life-giving flow of our witness. For that reason, the Bible warns, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Sin makes us far less productive than our actual God given potential. This is why confession and repentance are essential elements for personally producing – the spiritual fruit of love!
The question is, how much love for God is currently being experienced in your own life? Remember that you are a spiritual branch in His Vine. Does some persistent temptation still hinder you from maximum effectiveness? What needs to be pruned away? Today, pause to focus on that – specific sin. In light of 1 John 1:9, stop and pray. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” No action either good or bad happens without a decision, so repentance is a much-needed daily choice. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
By Billie Hanks Jr.