Look again

As we move forward into verses five and six we see that we are indeed the branches and He is the vine. When we abide in Him we bear fruit, not just some but MUCH. There is a version of Alice in Wonderland where Alice is bigger than everyone and some other character comes up to her and says “I like your muchness” I want my fruit to have muchness! That is I want as many people as possible to see the goodness of living life with Jesus, loving Jesus and committing your life to Him. Jesus also explains that we can’t bring any fruit forth without Him, at all!

If people aren’t seeing that your life isn’t any different than theirs with your “Jesus” then maybe your abiding connections are a little rusty and need some healing oil of the Lord to bring them back and you start to live your life for Jesus again!

Jesus gives another urgent call for abiding – which is why I don’t get into the once-saved always-saved nonsense – because if you aren’t producing fruit then you are detached by God, gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. Errrr no thanks for me. I would much rather go through being pruned than being burned. I don’t much care for intense heat such as the middle of a blazing fire.

So now we arrive at verse 7, the main focus of this lesson. We have opened the topic, metaphorically explained it and given the importance of why we should do this with a negative reinforcement. Meaning we have been presented with the bad consequences of not doing this. Now we get the good news. Most people want to hear the good news first and bad news second. I tend to agree with Jesus’ approach – bad news first, good news second so you are uplifted.

Verses 7and 8 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples”

WHOA! Let’s spend some time here. Ok first, we already knew it was our choice but Jesus reiterates that it is our personal choice! It isn’t my choice for you, not your spouse’s choice for you, not your kid’s choice or your parents’ choice, not your uncle or aunt, cousin, grandparents, grandkids’, sisters’ or brothers’ choice, not your friends’ choice for you – it is YOUR CHOICE! You can make as many excuses as you would like but God is not going to accept them. God wants your heart not your excuses.

Jesus reminds us that we have to choose to abide in Him and to have Him abide in us. God is like the best and worst roommate ever – let me explain. He is the best because He loves us unconditionally, He will stay as long as He is welcome, He always pays His portion of the rent – on time, no excuses – and He is also there for when we need to vent, cry, talk, or whatever. He is the worst because He is always lovingly pointing out our faults, helping us become better by showing us where we mess up – we leave our shoes in the middle of the hallway, we let mold grow in the shower curtain, or we don’t pay our rent on time.

Hence we choose to abide in Him and let Him abide in us – be that roommate that is there for you and also shows your stuff, the things you would rather hide than highlight. BUT when we makes this choice EVERYDAY God blesses us. We can come before Him with our desires which match His desires and He will help us or make those happen for us. (Psalm 37:4) So let’s keep going with this roommate analogy, you both wants a bigger TV or better couch that’s cleaner or more comfortable, you both are going to partner to get it because it suits both of your desires and not just yours.

Have you ever got something that suited your desires but ended up not being what you wanted? That is what it is like with God. He’ll let you get it but He knows it is what you need or that you will want it for very long.

Ok so this awesome blessing, it isn’t for you. It is for Him and His glory. What it is is that you pray and ask for this, this desire that is from your heart that has been abiding in God and knows that it is His desire as well, He answers this prayer so that you can tell everyone and bring glory to His Name!

With Dad’s new condition, everyone at work was like “what’s happening? Is he ok? My thoughts are with you” well on Friday when we received the news that he was already onto stage 3 I almost had a loud Holy Ghost moment I was so excited! Instead I skipped over to my coworkers and was like “Guess who’s dad is already moved onto stage three of recovery?!? MINE!” Both of them were like “cool” while I’m bursting with Holy Ghost Joy! So I finally blurted “THAT’S THE POWER OF PRAYER! We had everyone praying and that is what has been the difference!” It freaked them out but I didn’t care because how else are they going to hear if no-one speaks up?

And that testimony of miraculous healing is worth sharing because it brings glory to GOD and not the doctor. It brings glory to God because the treatment is hard to keep compliant to and the doctor didn’t have much faith in that recovery of dad. God gets the glory for Dad’s healing.

When we give God the glory we bear much fruit and we can count ourselves among Jesus’ disciples! Those are pretty good benefits I would say! But knowing God, it is even better!

The last three verses 9-11 show us another wonderful aspect of God that we forget. We may know it in our heads but we forget it in our hearts. God’s love.

God loves His Son so much He showed Him every step to take. Every message to give. Every moment to speak or to hold silent. Every outcome, every benefit and every consequence so Jesus would fast and true to God’s Word. That is the same love extended to us EVERY DAY of our lives and Jesus implores us to abide in it. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

To live so closely with Jesus and rest in His love that we get the same treatment from Jesus that Jesus got from God. Jesus shows us how to do this in verse 10 – keep his commandments. He shows us those commandments later on in the chapter (read the chapter!!)

In verse 11 yet another benefit is revealed and that is Jesus’ joy is going to remain in us so that the joy in us is FULL!! (John 10:10)

As we have unpacked all of this we see all of the huge benefits we will reap after a time of sowing. We must remember that in order to reap this harvest, we must sow seeds of abiding and remaining committed so that we can reap the much fruit, the desires being granted, being Jesus’ disciple, abiding in His love and having His word live in your hearts.

Jesus implores us to remain committed, remain in His Love and hide His word away in our hearts so that when those blessings and benefits come our way we won’t lose sight of who gave them to us. We won’t lose our character that God has been pruning and He will receive the glory not us. Remember, without him you can do nothing so therefore do not steal the glory from the Lord, it belongs to Him because we are no good on our own. In order to be effective we must abide.

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