“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
Today our pastor spoke about “roots and fruits.” He talked about how Jesus is (or should be) our root. We are branches. The branches display fruit. The branches cannot produce fruit apart from the root. Our pastor asked what fruit do our lives display? Do we display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control? Or do we display hate, sadness, conflict, impatience, meanness, evil, disobedience, violence, being out of control or lack of discipline?
Whenever we display negative fruit in our lives (fruit that is not in line with the character of Jesus), it means the behavior is coming from a bad root. Try as we might we cannot change or modify our behavior without first dealing with the root issue. We can’t do it on our own either. We have to become connected and remain connected to the best and only true root/source. That root is Jesus.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
So how do we do that? Disconnect from the things that are not good roots…ungodly influences in our life, or even bad habits, negative people, etc.
I do want to point out that sometimes the bad roots we have in our lives may not be there because of something we’ve done wrong or a sin. Some trauma, abuse, bad relationships from the past could have caused a bad root to be present. Someone else could have caused it. We could have a health issue that cause some negative roots to crop up. Or there could be another cause of a bad root.
Regardless of where our roots come from, the answer is still the same:
Abide in Jesus.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
So what does that mean? Become aware of your attitudes and behaviors and ask the Lord to help remove any roots that shouldn’t be there. Read the Bible, pray, sing praise and worship songs, attend church and develop friendships with like minded believers.
One of my very favorite things to do is to picture Jesus in my mind. I imagine I’m looking into his kind, brown eyes and I talk to him. I imagine him listening intently, smiling, nodding and then kindly giving me helpful advice. Sometimes I imagine he just gives me a hug and holds me for awhile without giving me any advice. I know that he always knows exactly the type of response I need right when I need it. Best of all, He provides the most amazing love. That’s what it means to me to remain in Him and He in me. Why would I want to have any other source or root?
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Now, I’m fully aware that we are imperfect humans. But Jesus knows that. That’s one of the reasons we have to stay connected to Him. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. And all the fruit we display in our lives gives a very good indication of how much of Him we have in our lives.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 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.
I want to reflect who He is, definitely not who I am. We will always be a work in progress on this side of Heaven, but may we always seek to grow more and more in the true root.
Our true source.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit- fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
P.S. The following song, Abide In Me by Andrew Marcus, came on Pandora while I was listening and writing this blog. I felt like I should share it. Be blessed.