This is the continuation of “Leafy Christianity”
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
Many times we wish things, while being disconnected from him, and expect the results that are for the privileged – only for those who remain in him. We expect God to bless us, while we disobey his commands and do not respect his boundaries. We think everything is fine with us, God somehow has to do it! Whatever “it” is. God may say, grow within the way I mold you and direct you, and you will be a fruitful harvest, a blessing to many! You are blessed if others are blessed through you. This is what fruitfulness does.
Well then, how to remain in Jesus?
It starts with love. It does not start with Bible knowledge or theological debates about what is correct in Latin and Greek and how much Hebrew you know and how well you can formulate your speeches.
As the Father has loved me,
so have I loved you.
Now remain in my love.
And how do we remain in Jesus’ love?
Yes, he has answered this question more than two thousand years ago. But we have not preached it in our churches. We have simply omitted the core of greatest importance. Jesus says, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love,” (Jn 15:10) Think about it: when was the last time you have heard a sermon on “obedience to the commands of Jesus” from your pastor? I guess, he will be fired by his own church members before he would have even finished such a sermon! In a church that is fruitless, the one who comes to prune to make it fruitful for harvest is cut off. It’s too hard; it’s not our policy; what about our donors; and the church committee; we have not done like this before; our traditions! These churches just remain to be leaves, not fruit clusters. They like to suck all the energy and strength from the vine and look lush and lavish, but bear no fruit. The scary thing about them is that they will have all the characteristics of a vine plant and deceive others into believing that they are fruit bearing branches. They look alike, until you see the difference in how they love others and keep the commands of Jesus. To love your neighbor is to lay down your life for your neighbor. Jesus has already modeled it for us. As he has loved us, so should we love others. He calls those who obey his commands friends! He welcomes them into his exquisite club!
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command.
To remain in the Vine begins with selfless love, obedience to Jesus’ commands, which in turn will guide you and shape you into a pruned branch that bears much fruit. Remember, to remain in him is to be pruned daily, to bear fruit. No fruitful blessing without pruning. There is no other alternative or a shorter route to this. I have watched the farmers cut off up to 70% of the growth in the vineyards in the hilly slopes of my village, for a fruitful harvest. This happens every year, around the year. Just 30% of the plant is all the farmers need to see it bear fruit. That 70% can harm the 30% fruit-bearing potential within you. They are just energy suckers: ego, pride, jealousy, greed, lies, hate, anger… cut them off, you don’t need them in your lives. They produce disease and death. It destroys your life and others’.
What unnecessary 70% needs to be removed from your life to love others like Jesus laid his life for you? What dead woods (deeds) keep you from obeying the commands of Jesus? Would you allow Jesus to come to you with his pruning scissors to shape and guide you as he wants you to be – fruitful.