Are You Remaining Faithful to God
This last weekend I spent some time studying and reading through John 15. It is one of my favorite stories in the New Testament. It is the story of the vine and the branches. A story of growth in the life of a Christian, and a story of what it means to remain in God.
“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.” vs 1-4.
As we have stepped into the Lenten season this past week, a word that God brings to mind is abide. Abide means to stay, to remain. Part of our Christian life is cyclical; it has seasons that come and go, some seasons are long and others are short. My prayer is that, no matter what season you are in, that you would remain in Him.
God is the ultimate gardener.
Jesus is the vine.
We are the branches, and the branches must remain to the vine in order to find fruitfulness.
I love the springtime in California because the roses I constantly see provide the perfect analogy for the John 15 illustration we read in Scripture. Every good gardner knows that you must prune your rose bushes in order for them to bloom again in the next season. Pruning allows us to cut away the diseases, trim the dead spots, and clear the bugs. Pruning the branches allows us to await for new growth; but sometimes, after a rose bush is pruned, it is unsightly and appears dead. But then, something beautiful happens after awhile (after abiding): new growth and life begin to happen and blossom better than before.
The same happens in the Christian life. There will be seasons where we feel like God is pruning things in our life, maybe even pruning the relationships we have with others. We feel desolate, left with thorns, dried out, empty, alone, bitter, frustrated, the list goes on. But in those seasons of pruning, God calls us to remain connected, to steadfastly abide, because out of the faithfulness of remaining comes fruitfulness. As things in life are going well, sometimes we feel that we have then reached fruitfulness and we are done, but God calls us to still remain. How often do we want to peace out on God when things are going well? When we remain in all circumstances, however, fruitfulness happens. We unfortunately cannot fast forward the process. Our souls need to be in His hands, whether we are being planted for the first time and beginning to take root, are beginning to blossom and bear fruit, or are in a season where He is pruning. Pruning is not intended to hurt us, but to allow for us to make space and room for what our great God will do next.
As you move season to season, I pray that God’s grace will be sufficient in the change and transition. I pray that He would make clear what needs to be pruned in your life, that you would remain faithful in the dry seasons, and that you would praise Him for the fruit He plans to bare through you.