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When Jesus Says, "I am the vine and you are the branches...

Abide in me...and you will bear much fruit/" He is making a couple of key points. The first is this...

The primary focus in a believer's life with Christ is to abide in Him -

to abide like a branch clings to a vine. We can focus on so many things: doing good, becoming better, growing spiritually. But, all of that misses the true calling of Christ. Jesus says the primary task is much more basic than any of that. It is to "abide" in Him. That word means to live in, to dwell, to pitch our tent in Him. He says we are to abide in Him just as He is in the Father. You cannot find a more intimate relationship than the Trinity. The image He offers is one of a branch clinging to its life-giving source, the vine. Branches don't have the power to bring nutrients from the soil. They don't have a root system. They much have the life-giving nourishment of the cine to be alive. If they are cut off from that source, they are just dead wood. In the same way, we living branches must cling to Jesus, the source of our life.

A second point Jesus makes here is that we aren't producers either of our own spiritual growth or of converting others to Christ.

Branches don't produce anything in their own strength. A branch cannot decide to bear fruit. It's not about the effort and force of will of the branch. Instead, fruit is the normal and natural outcome of a branch's attachment to the vine. It is the vine's life-giving nutrients flowing through the branch that produces the fruit. We, as branches, must cling to Jesus. As we do that, He produces fruit in us, fruit that will last. That fruit is both the fruit of the Spirit [peace, joy, patience, etc.] and the fruit of our faith multiplied in the lives of those around us who are led to Christ. They come to Christ, not because we branches have the power to lead them, but because the life of Christ flows through us, shining a light on those in darkness so that they too become alive and attached to the vine.

He is the vine. We are the branches. May we cling to Him and allow Him to produce fruit in our lives.