“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener… you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. ” Jesus speaking in John 15 (NIV)
I am the true vine—on so many occasions Jesus told his disciples he was not acting or speaking on his own but in complete obedience to his Father. He did nothing apart from God the Father in heaven. And that obedience, which cost him his life, brought about the salvation of our souls and the hope of eternal life. (John 3:16)
You are the branches—as Jesus acted in loving obedience, we too are called to loving obedience. For remaining in Christ means living in loving obedience to him. Apart from Christ our lives will not be fruitful. Fruit refers to the spreading of Christ’s love through us.
My command is this—love one another. It may involve sacrifice, it might even call us to suffer for the sake of another, but loving others is to be the distinguishing characteristic of the Christ-follower. We are called to love everyone which includes those who would be our enemies. The love of Christ abiding in us is able to change lives, to reverse patterns of destruction, to bring hope and joy.
That your joy may be complete—there is joy in the offering. Joy is the result of remaining in Christ and loving others. We are loved by our Father and by Jesus himself. Living a life of loving obedience completely satisfies our souls and bears undaunting JOY.
Today, let’s open our eyes and see those we’re called to love and obey. Let’s remain in Christ—the true vine—and bear fruit for the kingdom of God.