Can a person live out the life of Christ without Jesus Christ ? Absolutely Not! A life without Christ cannot in anyway bear the fruits of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the seventh (7th) I am statement, Jesus Christ gives us a vivid illustration of how the life of a believer in Him ought to be by using an agricultural imagery.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.John 15:1 NKJV
Our Lord Jesus Christ liken himself to a true vine, God, the Father as the vinedresser and us His followers as the branches of the true vine. Here the three focal points in the gospel of John 15: 1 – 8 to help us grasp the meaning of the 7th I am statement:
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; “
The branches of the true vine refers to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. As believers we have a responsibility to bear fruits to manifest God’s glory. Our fruits bears witness of the one we serve and who we are. How do we identify plants or trees? It is based on two things (1) the type of seed that produced the plant/tree and (2) the type of fruit the plant or tree bears. Similarly, as believers the fruits we bear testifies of the God we serve and who we are as children of the most high God. The fruits we bear as believers include reflecting the life and character of Jesus Christ (fruit of the Holy Spirit Gal 5:22-23) and the works we do. Unfortunately, some believers struggle to live out the life of Christ and with that the vinedresser takes away. “To take away” here in its original Greek translation means to “lift up”, the Father reaches out and lifts such saints up as they continue to abide in Christ, He encourages, strengthens, supports them through a faith community, His Spirit, and His word so that they will be able be to produce the fruit of Christ.
“and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
The branches that bear fruits, the vinedresser prunes so that they will bear more fruit. These branches are the believers who by God’s grace are living out the life of Christ, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, serving others, sharing the Gospel of Christ, doing all the great things you can imagine a faithful believer does. To continue to help such believers produce fruit and ensure their fruit remain, the Father prunes such believers. The act of pruning a branch is to remove the excess leaves absorbing nutrients which hinders the branch from bearing the needed fruit. The image of pruning in the believer’s life often manifests as tests and challenges that try our faith, in such moments we are to faithfully abide in Christ and trust Him and in the end, victory will be attained. The pruning seasons of our lives enables us to grow in our faith in God and become spiritually matured to continue to bear more fruits to God’s glory.
Abiding in the True Vine
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
To the fruitless branches and the fruitful branches are all called to abide in the true vine for when either one chooses to disconnect from the branch the ability to be fruitful will cease. Our Lord Jesus Christ beckons his followers, and to all those who believe in Him to remain and abide in Him. The life of the believer goes through times and seasons, good times and difficult times but the assurance we have in all of these things is that as long as we abide in Christ Jesus, we will bear much fruit. Beloved in Christ, a life without Christ is an empty life, Jesus Christ tells us that for without Him we can do nothing. We abide in Christ when we spend time in prayer always, meditate and obey His word, trusting in Him and always walking in holiness and righteousness. Jesus Christ is our source and our sustenance in all things, and it is extremely important that we abide in Him to be able to grow and produce much fruit for God’s glory.
“If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned” in the verse 6 of John 15 clearly shows that apart Christ we render ourselves useless. The burning of the withered branches is not to cast an image of hell but to show us that we will not be of any use as long as we are disconnected from Christ, we will have no sustenance to keep us. Unlike the branches of the vine, we as humans are able to go back and re-attach ourselves to Christ and He will graciously revive us and cause our lives to be fruitful in Him.
I pray that these series of the seven (7) I am statements of our Lord Jesus Christ will be a great blessing in your life. The revelation of the knowledge of who Christ is, helps us to know Him, draw near Him and be able to deepen our relationship with Him. Be blessed and always abide in Christ Jesus the true vine.