Jesus is the only True Vine and I am to abide (accept without objection) in Him.
I can through my own selfish, sinful desires abide in false vines. These can be anything I look to in substitution for obedience to Jesus, my True Vine. Anytime I choose my own way I am abiding in a false vine. Anytime I do my own thing, even if it is a good thing, if I do it apart of my life in Jesus, my only True Vine, I am abiding in a false vine.
I will bear fruit when I abide in alternate vines but it will not be good fruit. The fruit I will produce will be bad, rotten and downright evil. They will come from a life lived entirely for self. And myself is pretty rotten.
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident which are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
Wow! To abide in false vines means we won’t inherit the kingdom! That to me is not a good trade off!
The fruit of my sinful nature are not pleasant–not even for a short time. They bring only pain and suffering. There is no peace for those who practice the above fleshly deeds. None. There is no peace. There is no rest. There is no transforming. Just unfruitful deeds of unrighteousness, strife and chaos.
Every branch that is in Him but isn’t bearing fruit He removes because they are not doing what God created them to do.
Taking away could be simply that He stops their self-serving ministry. Or it could be a bit more drastic as Him just taking them home because they have lost their effectiveness for Him.
We are told in Isaiah 42:8 that God won’t share His glory with anyone else. Not even His child. Not even a branch that is attached to the True Vine.
When we repeatedly and consciously choose to go our own way, abide in false gods of our own making, we are of no earthly good to the kingdom of God. So He uses His prerogative to remove everything from our lives until all we have is Him. When we still choose to abide in false gods, He will simply remove our feet from earth.
When we choose to abide in Him and allow His life to flow through us, we will bear fruit. We will not produce this fruit. This fruit is something we bear through spending time attached to His life giving Vine, and allowing His Spirit to run like sap through us, nourishing us, and nurturing us. It is God and God alone who can produce good fruit. Any fruit I produce in myself will be rotten, because I just can’t be good or produce good on my own. I need Jesus for that.
As we bear fruit, He lovingly prunes us.
I love roses. I know if I want a lot of flowers I have to keep careful watch and prune the dead flowers off. So that it will produce more of the desired flowers.
Jesus is the same way! He loves us and wants us to bear fruit. As we do that He lovingly prunes us, removes the dead fruit, and removes any dead spots. He also watches closely to see if there are places that are just growing and not bearing fruit. He prunes those back as well.
If we did not go through this time of pruning, Jesus would not love us. And He does!
Also if He didn’t love us enough to prune us back, we would stagnant in our growth. We would stop bearing fruit and then we would be taken away.
“Knowledge puffs up”. If all we’re doing is growing, we are getting more knowledge if that is all we have, without adding understanding and converting those to wisdom, we are being puffed up with pride.
Jesus can’t abide a prideful branch. (Isaiah 42:8)
His pruning is for our good. If we are growing tall and leafy, but aren’t bearing fruit, He will prune us back. So we can bear fruit.
I just pruned back a rose bush that was using all of the nutrients I’ve given it to grow tall, and it wasn’t using any of it to produce the flowers I love so dearly. So just as I pruned back my pretty, but unfruitful rose bush, Jesus will prune us back. Even if we are growing. I planted the rose bush so I could enjoy the flowers, not see a tall rose bush with a lot of growth and leaves but no flowers.
I want the fertilizer, mulch, sunlight, and water I use to take care of my rosebushes to be used to produce blooms–not just a leafy bush.
Jesus is the same way. He doesn’t want us to merely look good, He wants us to be transformed by His sap (the Holy Spirit) so we are good. He wants to produce fruit in us that will make people stop to admire Him and glorify Him.
No one stops to admire a rosebush that isn’t producing roses! No one praises the gardener for his rose bush that is tall and leafy but has no flowers on it.
That isn’t the point of a rose. And it isn’t the point of a believer either.
We are told in Ephesians 2:10 that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared for us beforehand.Before the creation of the world!
These good works bear fruit! This fruit is what God will use to draw a hurting world to Himself because good fruit glorifies Him and not the branch.
We can’t produce the fruit on our own. He produces it in us and we just have to bear it. This takes abiding, fixing ourselves, stationing ourselves in Him and making no objection to His work in us.