18th September 2020
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 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.”
John 15:1-4 (NIV)
My father-in-law owns a tennis court next to his house and when I was younger (and not married) I used to drive past and see him playing. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I could be as good as him one day”. However, many years (and a marriage to his daughter) later, my father-in-law and I play tennis against each other every Monday night. So far this year, I have beaten him every game. Here’s why: I work with the second-best tennis player in town every Friday. He coaches me and I practise the same drills and the same shots every week so that it becomes muscle memory and more natural to me. Jesus said when you want to think about your relationship with me, when you want to find the flow of life, think of me as a vine. The vine is not the part that runs along the windowsill, it's the part that comes up from the ground. So what Jesus is saying here is that He is what stands in the ground bringing forth life and nutrition. We are the branches, and if we stay connected to Him and remain in Him, we will bear fruit. You will have blessings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in an increasing measure! When life feels barren, you'll bear fruit. It’s not about what's on the outside, it’s about what God is doing on the inside. If you will just stay connected to Him. In this season we see so many people neglecting to remain. If you neglect the monotonous, you’ll miss the miraculous. Stay connected and stay in relationship, because this season will one day end and those who have remained will bear fruit. Sometimes the key to change is more of the same.