Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Last Sunday we considered the teaching of Jesus in Jn. 15:1-17. The emphasis of this passage is that we must remain, or abide, in Jesus if our lives are to be fruitful, just as a branch must remain in the vine if it is to bear fruit. A fruitful life is one that has been transformed by the working of the Spirit so the character of Christ shines brightly through it. We might think here of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Gal. 5:22-23 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then out of this Christ-like character we are able to do the work of God, bearing fruit by how we live and what we do.
In the Bible, we find another metaphor for how we can live a fruitful life, and that is by having deep roots planted by streams of water. For instance, Jer. 17:7-8 states, “Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.”
It’s insightful to note that Jeremiah declares we not only will bear fruit as the roots of our lives sink deeply into Christ, but even in times of drought we will produce fruit. Times of drought (illness, discouragement, broken relationships, financial hardship, employment challenges, or feeling distant from God) come to all of us. We are not spared such times just because we are followers of Jesus.
But as we live with our roots deeply planted into Christ, nourishing our souls on His word, being refreshed by His Spirit in prayer, and being encouraged by our brothers and sisters in Christ, our lives can still be fruitful. Even in difficult times, the character of Christ can continue to be formed within us, and God will still work through us to accomplish the work of His Kingdom, leading to joy and gratitude.
So by God’s grace and in the strength He supplies, let us consciously remain in the vine of Christ; let us sink our roots deep into our Lord and His ways.
Grace and peace,