I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 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. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 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.
Do you have visions of fresh tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and corn for your summer dinners? If you’ve ever planted a garden or flowers in your yard, you know how much work it requires. If you want the big pay-off, you have to put in the time. You need a plan. You select the areas you will plant with an eye toward the amount of sunlight the plants will tolerate. You design a back-up source of irrigation. You prepare the ground by digging deeply and enriching the soil with compost or potting soil. And then you select the plants, by-passing the ones that look leggy or yellowed, even if they are cheaper. You’ve worked so hard; you want the best. You dig the holes and set the plants, and then you sit back and wait for the expected harvest of delicious vegetables. But sometimes, for no apparent reason, the cucumbers are bitter, the tomatoes rot, the corn is infested with worms, or the squash blossoms fall off the plants before they mature. You throw up your hands and vow to support your local farmers’ market from now on.
God chose us and planted us in the midst of a wonderful body of believers. Either we take root in His Word and become fruitful soul winners, adding to His kingdom, or we allow ourselves to die on the vine, and the fruit we produce is worthless, even poisonous. God prepares and does the planting. It’s up to us to produce.
Father, help me to realize that in choosing You, my life is no longer my own; it belongs to You. Take away those things that would cause me to produce the poisonous fruits of envy and strife. Fill me with Your love so that I can be useful to You. Amen.