In his final instruction to the twelve apostles, Jesus presented the heart of His teaching in a vivid illustration that every gardener will understand. Jesus calls Himself the vine and God the Father the gardener.
“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.” John 15:1-2 (NIV)
The fruit Jesus is talking about is love. Those who have no love are useless and will be discarded. Those who have love will be in some way challenged and encouraged to produce even more fruit. God the Father is constantly pruning the branches so that they will be able to pour out His love to others. Jesus is the vine. Believers who are true disciples of Jesus are the branches nurtured by God.
“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.” John 15:5 (NIV)
Without Jesus, we are worthless. Jesus is the ultimate supplier of God’s love (1 John 4:7-21). By staying focused on the teachings of Jesus, we remain connected to the source of love that fuels our connection to God.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12 (NIV)
That one command sums up all the teachings of Jesus. If everything we do passes through the filter of love, it’s impossible for us to do wrong. That sounds easy, but it is enormously hard. We live in a fallen world ruled by the devil (1 John 5:19). Every day we are in a battle between good and evil. Every day we have to navigate our way through the devil’s schemes in order to stay true to Jesus. Thankfully, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to overcome but it takes a sincere effort on our part to hang on tightly to God’s love.
“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:14-15 (NIV)
By following the commandment of Jesus to love one another and by faithfully following His teachings, we become His true friend. Jesus spent three years walking the earth sharing everything He learned from His Father with the twelve apostles who ultimately shared those lessons with us in the pages of the Bible. There is no better friend than Jesus. That friendship is available to anyone willing to listen to His instruction.
Answer each question as though you were speaking privately to Jesus. Don’t just answer yes or no, explain your answer completely to yourself and to the Lord.
Is your connection to Jesus producing the fruit of love?
Do you consider how you can do everything with love in your heart?
Have you experienced the power of the Holy Spirit protecting you from the enemy?
Have you felt God’s hand nurturing you toward fruitful growth?
Do you demonstrate your love for others by sharing the truth about Jesus?
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