Daily Devotional: John 15:1-8
If someone were to give you the best evangelistic opportunity ever and just bluntly ask you, “What does it mean to be a Christian?” How would you answer? Maybe you would walk through the Gospel storyline: Creation, Sin, Salvation, Restoration. Most likely you would share about Christ’s life, death, resurrection and our response to all that he has done. But, how would describe your life as a Christian?
Jesus, the perfect teacher, used a very helpful analogy, a word picture to describe the Christian life: the analogy of a vineyard. After you read verses 1-8 in John 15, I invite you to meditate on a couple truths that should encourage you and help you appreciate your life as a Christian.
First, consider the Father’s role. He is the vinedresser. This means that the Father is in charge of the whole vine. He planned it, planted it, and constantly cultivates it. This is true of your life in Christ. God planned, from before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4), for you to be in Christ and under his cultivating care. Part of the cultivation is pruning, which is his sovereign work of bringing about sufferings in our lives to help us produce more fruit (James 1:2-4; Hebrews 12:11). Remembering this helps us trust God and thank the Father for even those difficult seasons in our lives. The Father also takes away branches that are producing no fruit. This is a good warning for us to not stray from Christ, who alone can help us continue to bear fruit.
Second, consider Christ’s role as the vine. The vine is what makes the branches healthy so they produce fruit, because the vine nourishes the branches. Christ, the perfect Son of God, came and became a man for this very purpose. We were “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) with no ability to produce good fruit. Christ came to mediate our way back to God, through his death and resurrection, so that we could be reconciled with God and part of the Father’s beautiful vineyard. Now, in Christ, he nourishes us through his Word (John 15:7) and by his Spirit (John 14:26; John 16:13), helping us experience all the rich blessing we have in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Understanding this helps us realize how we need to daily depend upon him in order to produce fruit.
Third, consider yourself as the branch. Your role as a branch is to experience the rich blessings of being under the Father’s cultivating love and care by communing with his Son. Jesus calls it “abiding.” Another good adjective: clinging. Daily you are to cling to Christ, by letting his Word abide in you and by asking the Father to work his will in your life as you seek to live out his word in your life (John 15:7, 9-10).
What is the amazing result of the Father cultivating, the Son nourishing, and you—as a branch—abiding? Fruit! Beautiful, healthy, plump, and delicious fruit! This fruit, which is godliness and holiness, pleases the Father and gives him great glory (John 15:8). And this brings us joy (John 15:11). So, keep clinging to Christ and patiently but expectantly watch as the Father brings about beautiful fruit in your life!