“You don’t choose me, but I choose you and I place you that you may go and may be carrying fruit, and your fruit may be remaining.” Literal Greek.
He has been reminding me of these words.
Isn’t it wonderful that it’s not that we choose him, but that he chooses us? Jesus is clear: no-one comes to him unless the Father draws them. Also that as he was lifted up, he would draw everyone to himself. We are chosen, drawn by the Divine Love to bear fruit. The Father draws us to himself through Jesus.
He was saying that if he chooses us to bear fruit, then he first chooses us to stay in him and him in us. We are chosen first and foremost to abide in him, and him in us. As we’ve seen before, fruit is a by product of abiding, of staying in Christ. It is union first then fruit.
There are some things he’s been reminding me of the last few days again.
Being a Branch
Yesterday I was reading this again from the literal Greek.
“I am the grapevine, you are the branches. The one remaining in me and I in him, this one is bringing forth much fruit, that apart from me you are not able to be doing anything.”
He chooses us, knowing that apart from him we are not able to be doing anything!
There is a phrase that I hear sometimes. It is “I came to the end of myself.” It’s usually the time or place in a situation when we turn to God having exhausted all our own resources and abilities. Perhaps it’s the time when we have exhausted ourselves to a point of weakness, both physically and spiritually. But it also says a lot about us and our relationship with Jesus if we continually find that we are coming to the end of ourselves. It says a lot about our understanding of his words spoken to us.
In light of the words of Jesus, we should come to the end of ourselves but once, and recognise that what he says is true. “Apart from me you are not able to be doing anything.” That’s easier said than done. I try so much on my own. I see the failure when it’s me trying. It says that “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.” It isn’t that he gives us strength when our strength has gone. It is that we recognise the truth of Jesus words, that we are weak, and that apart from him we are not able to be doing anything. He literally is all in us, continually, and all that we do should flow from him. That is the choice he makes, to remain in us and us in him.
I’m learning to simply be a branch as time goes on. I’m learning that remaining in him makes everything so much easier. So much lighter. There is an ease to the flow of Life when I am conscious of being in him and him in me. He has chosen me to live knowing that I have come to the end of myself and that apart from him I am not able to be doing anything!
“You do not choose me, but I choose you and I appoint you that you may go and that you may be bearing fruit, and your fruit may be remaining.”
If I understand correctly, there is a specific fruit that a vinedresser is looking for. All the work he puts into caring for the vine is to ensure that at the right time, the perfect fruit comes forth. It’s not about short term yields, but about long term yields.
The Father, the vinedresser, is tenderly caring for the Vine so that the Vine brings forth fruit. It dawned on me yesterday. The fruit is from Jesus himself, and therefore must have eternal significance, as he himself is eternal. That is why Jesus says that our fruit will remain. The fruit that comes from the Vine is not simply a short term yield, but has an eternal significance because the fruit is the product of eternal Life, and that is something that we should be conscious of. We might be satisfied with a lesser fruit, but the vinedresser is only satisfied with what is eternal.
“In this my Father is glorified, that much fruit you may be bringing forth.”
The fruit of the Vine must, and will, always glorify the Father. Is our fruit glorifying the Father? Or is it glorifying us? We cannot (and should not) take any credit for the fruit that Jesus produces. How can we when he says that apart from him we are not able to be doing anything? Even Jesus himself takes no credit for the fruit he produces, but the fruit he produces always glorifies the Father.
Tis The Season
Finally, a friend, Peter, sent me this over the weekend. It’s exactly where things seem to be at. I’ll finish with this.
“I walked about 15 miles through Rhineland vineyards today. Everywhere I looked, the vines have been stripped right back to just one or two branches and the farmers are hard at work fixing the guide wires and supports and training the branches along the guide wires.
The Father said to me, “That’s what I’m doing”.”
Eat the Bread, drink the Living Water. Keep abiding!