As I walked in our neighborhood I heard autumn’s handprints—dry leaves crunching under my feet—though the sun shone warm on my face.
Since I walked solo today, I filled my mind with scripture. John 15. This, too, was a walk. Jesus and the disciples had just left the upper room and the Passover meal and headed to the Garden of Gethsemane.
As I considered the words of Christ from John 15, I noted reference to three things I have learned in the past few years.
Brokenness is Good
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2
The claim here is that we will either be cut off the vine and taken away or we will be pruned. Ouch! Either way, there’s pain up ahead.
This speaks of brokenness. That word increasingly characterizes my life. That’s a good thing, I realized. Pride’s grip on me has weakened and I have a greater sense of my need for God. It’s all good. Difficult, but eternally rewarding.
I Can’t Do Anything
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Joh 15:5
You can’t do anything without Me. That’s what Jesus said. In the past, I didn’t outwardly refute it. But inside, I wasn’t buying it either. Sure, my heart wouldn’t continue beating unless Jesus willed it. But I’m pretty sure that a lot has been accomplished without abiding in Him.
But maybe that’s a wrong assumption. We can accomplish things—even good things. But in the context of fruit-bearing? Without Him, all out efforts are nothing. They carry no value into eternity.
The Stretch of Love
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:9, 12
Have you seen a miracle lately? Jesus said we are loved just as God loves His perfect, holy, faithful Son. Father loving the Son must be easy. But for Christ to love flawed, sinful, unfaithful humans is a miracle.
As we live in that love, Jesus commands us to love other flawed, sinful, unfaithful humans. He says He will continue the miracle through us.
On my noon-time walk today, God’s Word fed my spirit, strengthening me for the road ahead. In John 15, Jesus’ words fed the disciples’ spirits, preparing them for the days to come. What part of scripture is God using to strengthen and encourage you?