Sometimes I find myself performing a task or involved in a situation that previously would have been an immense struggle. For example: My dog Woodrow is currently paralyzed in his rear legs following a genetic-related spinal injury. Today things are scheduled, and pretty much ironed out to a science—but that was not at all how things started. Trial and error became the new norm for our lives for the first 3 months of care.
I find that when I learn something new it usually has come from a period of failure that helps me learn the subject at hand. I also find this to be a truth in my walk with Jesus.
The Lord has promised that He supports the branch that is failing to bear fruit, and that He helps the productive branch to be even more productive. This all relates back to several key components in the stories revolving around Jericho. At one point Jericho served as the fruitless branch that was removed, it was then marked as a place forbidden to be rebuilt. Later, a tree in Jericho would be the hinge for the life of a fruitless man before his very intentional redirection towards a life of fruit-bearing.
At times we can read the vine and branch story as a works-based salvation. I would argue that this verse reinforces the idea that once we give our life to Christ, He cultivates fruit in us intentionally. Jesus refers to the Father as the Farmer and Himself as the Vine—for us to assume that we, the branches, are the source of the fruit we bear uncovers pride in our “role” in our salvation. The deciding aspects of this story aren’t the branches, rather the Vine and the Farmer. Our connection to solid roots in the Vine and caring cultivation from the Farmer reveals the fruit in our life, and lets us see tangible results of our faith, through the goodness of our Father.
What fruit are you bearing? Do you see areas in your life where your faith is manifesting in life? Read John 14 and 15 this week and ask God to reveal what fruit He is cultivating in your life, and ask that you recognize it and use it.