Vines and Branches (A Lesson from Jesus)

You are a container of me. But you are not just a container. A container is lifeless, but you are not. So another illustration is helpful. I am the vine. You are the branch.

Think about a grapevine. The life comes from the vine. The branch isn’t inactive. It has a role to play. But the focus is on the vine. It’s the life of the vine that the branch expresses. No one, seeing wonderful grapes in a vineyard, says, “What wonderful grapes this branch produces!” No, they say, “What wonderful grapes this vine produces!” I produce. You are the expression of what I produce. 

The branch is completely dependent on the vine for the life. The branch can’t do anything on its own. Cut a branch off and set it on a table. How long will you have to wait for the branch to produce a grape? Forever! Branches can’t produce anything.  

Apart from me, you can’t do anything. I live my life through you. I am the only one who can live it. It simply looks like you. 

This is exactly how my Father and I operated when I was on earth. The Father lived through me, as me. I was walking between towns. I was cooking the fish. I was teaching the crowds. I was healing people. I was performing miracles. On the outside it looked like me. Except it wasn’t me. I could do nothing of myself. It was the Father living in me, doing his works. 

I am in the Father. He is in me. He was living His life through me, as me. There was no gap between us.  There was no separation. It wasn’t him living through me some of the time, and me living through me some of the time. You operate exactly the same way. As I am, so also are you in this world.

The Father was the vine. I was the branch. Now I am the vine. You are the branch.

The key role of the branch is to receive. It receives everything from the vine. Everything the vine is, the branch receives, and simply manifests, or expresses, it. That’s what you do. You manifest me. That’s what you are doing right now.

Do you understand that? 

This is your reality right now. It’s not something that becomes a reality one day when you “get spiritual” enough. I am now the One living your ordinary, everyday life. I am handling the kids through you. I am working your job through you. I am preparing the meals through you, washing the dishes through you, living this life through you now. On the outside, it looks like you. But it’s actually me doing my works through you. 

I want you constantly aware of Another in you. I don’t want you to see yourself as the one thinking, speaking, and acting. I want you to see me as doing those things through you, as you, because that’s what I am doing.

Here’s something I want you to grab hold of and not let go: I am pleased to live through you just as you are, as you. 

You’ll be tempted to think I’m living through you in spite of you—in spite of your weak humanity. No! I don’t live through you in spite of your humanity, but because of your humanity. You’re not a liability to me. You’re not an impediment to my plan. You, in your humanity, are my asset. You’re the one I’ve chosen to live through, just as you are, right now. 

It is your weakness, your neediness, your inability, that causes my glory to shine through you. You don’t have the love you need, the patience you need, the power you need to overcome. You’re not meant to. So you trust that I am, right this moment, living my life through you. I am the love. I am the patience. I am the power. As you relax into who I am in you, you see me living through you, just as you are. 

So accept yourself, just as you are. You are completely accepted by me. You are completely acceptable to me. I have chosen to live through your unique brand of humanness. I am perfectly pleased to be living   in and through you as you are right now

Stop fussing about yourself, your failures, and how you think you need to get better. I didn’t call you to become better. Your job is not to become, but to contain. You’re a container. Containers don’t improve. Don’t focus on yourself at all. Focus completely on me. I am the life in you. 

I’m not calling you to recommit, rededicate, reconsecrate, or re- anything else. What would you be rededicating yourself to? Trying harder? That is what you must be delivered from! 

You are the perfect means by which I express myself. If I want to express myself in different ways through you, I will make those changes. I am your sanctification, remember? Your role is to receive. You are focused on me in you, not on whatever inadequacies you think you may have.

Spiritual growth is not about improving yourself so that your weaknesses disappear. I use your weaknesses to my glory. Spiritual growth is about receiving. The Holy Spirit has come to show you the things you are freely given

Here’s what I want you to grow in. Grow in the grace and knowledge of me. Grace means I give, you receive. Grow in your receiving of me as the One who is living in you each moment. And the knowledge of me as what? As the One who lives in you, through you, as you. 

I am the vine. You are the branch. I flow through you. This entire life is lived by grace, by receiving, from faith to faith—one episode of faith in me living in you to the next. 

Verses:

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” — Jesus (John 15:5)

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” — Jesus (John 14:10)

“As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he will also live because of me.” — Jesus (John 6:57)

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” — Jesus (John 15:4)

… as He is, so also are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

… grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)

(This article is excerpted from my book If Jesus Loves Me Why Isn’t This Working?)

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