Read: John 15:1-8
God never intended for you to follow Him, obey Him, and listen to His voice in your own effort and strength. God is so good and gracious. He calls you to obey Him, which causes freedom and blessing to fill your life, but does not command you to obey and then leave it all up to you.
You do not need to worry or fret, wondering and hoping if you can obey God. Whatever God says in His word for you to do, He gives you the power, grace, and provision to carry it out. God calls you to obey; God does it in you and through you. The Lord is committed to enable you to obey through Him alone.
Jesus explains the relationship of Himself with you that is life-changing. He compares you and Himself as a vine and a branch. Picture a vineyard. Jesus is the vine. Within the vine are all the nutrients that are needed for the branch to be healthy. You are the branch. The branch receives all that it needs through the vine. The branch is able to bear much fruit because of the vine providing what the branch needs.
In order for the branch to have fruit, it must abide. This word abide, in the original language, is meno. This means to live, dwell, rest in, remain, continue. Jesus said that as the branch rests, lives in, and depends on the vine, it will yield much fruit. Literally, this word for much is the word polys which means great in magnitude or quantity, large amount, or a massive amount! The word for fruit here means reward, profit, benefit.
As you truly abide in Jesus, or continue to rest and depend on Him, you will enjoy and receive much reward and benefits when you obey Him because you will find that as you take steps of faith in obeying God, your sufficiency and ability will come from God. Jesus teaches a powerful truth here when it comes to following Him.
Six times in this passage out of eight verses, Jesus says something that the branch receives as it abides in Him. The branch bears much fruit. Jesus does not say that the branch produces much fruit. Why didn’t Jesus say that the branch needs to produce fruit? Because a branch can’t produce fruit (John 15:4-5). The branch must abide and rest on the vine for the fruit. The vine produces the fruit for the branch, the branch depends and dwells upon the vine and receives from the vine.
Resting, depending, and making your home in Jesus will cause you to bear and receive the reward and benefits that come from Jesus. How does Jesus give you what is needed to bear fruit? What are the nutrients that Jesus says will energize you and empower you to bear fruit that will last as you obey God and being connected to Him? His presence and His word that is already in you produces the fruit because you rest, depend, and live in Jesus and His word. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you…if you abide in me, and my words abide in you” (John 15:4, 7).
If God intended for you to obey Him by striving, pushing, and figuring it out on your own, then Jesus would have never said to abide in Him. Rather, Jesus said that you cannot do anything without Him (John 15:5). Just as a branch that is not connected to the vine will wither and not bear fruit, so you desperately need to depend fully on the vine, Jesus, to be filled with all that you need to obey and run this race.
Bearing much fruit, by resting on Jesus, will free you from independently living the life God called you to live, and receiving all that you need for life and godliness through Him alone. Jesus produces fruit; you bear the fruit that Jesus produces. Living by this truth will enable you to obey God and receive the fruit, or benefits, He so lovingly provides.