“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.”
John 15:3-5 NKJV
Imagine you’re on the longest journey of your life, but you’re all alone. No one to talk to, no one to help you, and no one to enjoy it with you. This would be a sad and incredibly difficult journey. Unfortunately, many Christians live this way by not experiencing the power and comfort that is promised through the Holy Spirit. For all practical purposes, many travel their journey as if Jesus were not with them.
As a result, we are prone to travel our journey with a lot of self-effort. Our cycles of commitment and working harder to be like Jesus end in discouragement. A life surrendered to God in this way will result in feeling like a life doomed to frustration and failure.
In John 13-17, after three years of being with his disciples almost every day of their lives, Jesus prepares them for life without his physical presence—which is what we experience as his followers today. He repeatedly talks to them about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will dwell in them and be with them forever. He calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth, the helper, the one who will talk about Jesus, the one who will make them aware of sin, and who will guide them into truth.
In John 15, Jesus explains this through the metaphor of the vine and the branches. He calls this daily connection with him "abiding". He is the vine and we are the branches. We are to abide, or make our home in him by confessing our sin and then reconnecting to him and his life and power. This is possible because the Holy Spirit is dwelling within us. His life is flowing through us as we stay connected to him, like the sap in the vine flows through the branches. We are not left alone for our journey.
The Holy Spirit’s power then works through us to change our character. Just like branches, when we stay connected to Jesus, the vine, we will bear external fruit in keeping with Jesus’s life. We focus on abiding, and the fruit-bearing of Christian character begins to happen. We’ll get frustrated when we focus on trying to produce external fruit, and forget abiding.
Bearing lots of fruit, also known as maturity, takes time. Be patient with yourself and others on the journey—the fruit will come.
Will you claim by faith the Spirit’s power to fill your life with Jesus today?
Take a few moments right now and confess any known sin; then ask Jesus to flood your life afresh with His Spirit within you.