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Staying with the Garden theme there is a branch included with the freebie. If you want to produce spiritual fruit, your job is to be a branch.
A branch is a growth from the main stem or root of a plant. Various Hebrew words are translated as branch or shoot. The most common one can be defined as any sprout of vegetation (Gen. 19:25; Ezek. 16:7; Ps. 85:11).
Sometimes we feel like we just can’t live the Christian life—and we can’t, without abiding in the Vine. It’s easy to lose focus and rely on working overtime to please God through our good works and righteous behavior, but the only fruit this brings is burnout!
We can’t do it in our own ability, but that doesn’t mean we’re free from responsibility. We have a responsibility to submit to the Vine and the Vinedresser. The Spirit can do His work only as we yield to Him.
Christ the Vine Points to God the Vinedresser
When we are saved, we are grafted into the living Vine, Jesus Christ. Without the Vine to bring nourishing sap to the branch, there can be no fruit.
Without the Vine we cannot produce character like Christ’s—full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The branch and the Vine share one life. The Bible tells us believers over and over the riches we have available to us through Christ, who is the storehouse where God has placed all the “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:1–5).
Rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:7
When we yield or surrender to Christ, we abide in the Vine and no longer live only for ourselves. Christ’s life flows through us and produces fruit. The Vinedresser is able to conform our thoughts and will to provide us with the strength and energy to develop Christ-like behaviors.
Is this your goal to become Christ-like? Do you want to show love, forgiveness, kindness? Then stop trying to do it on your own. Be a branch!
God’s Wonderful Promises
When you submit to the Vine you have this wonderful promise “ If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”John 15:7.
Whatever you desire—not the self-centered sin-nature desires of a branch without the Vine. When the Vine conditions and controls a believer’s mind, his prayers conform to the Vinedresser’s will.
By allowing His Word to abide in us—to become part of our thinking and our standard for life—we will desire His plan, His righteousness. Be a branch and your life will be pointed in the right direction.
Branches are Weak!
Believers, like the branches of the vine, are weak, and insufficient to stand of themselves. (Matthew Henry) Apart from the work of Christ through the Holy Spirit, we cannot live the Christian life.
Each of us is to yield to the Vine moment by moment, allowing Him to achieve through us the work that the Vinedresser wants accomplished in our life. (Ephesians 2:10). We maintain our communion with the Vine by praying (v. 7), obeying the Vinedresser’s commandments (v. 10), and keeping our lives clean through His Word (3–4).
What happens to a branch without the Vine?
“If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
Without the Vine the branches wither and die. A life without the Vine experiences frustration, discontent, and guilt and eventually death—permanent separation from the living Vine.
There are some with unfruitful branches. They are either too immature (need to abide in the Vine to grow to produce fruit) or they are not true believers. Those that depend on religion are doing what they believe is good in their own efforts, like Cain with the wrong motivation.
By default we walk in our flesh. It is our nature to be selfish. We focus on self instead of the Vinedresser. But even then the Vinedresser gives us the ability to abide in the strength-giving Vine.
Our job is to yield, as explained in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” But how do I yield? How can I be a branch?
Seek God. “They who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing” (Psalm 34:10).
What is a good thing? The Bible defines the “good thing” very differently as the sovereignty, justice, righteousness, and love of God! Goodness is the character and being of God. God has no selfishness. Our Vinedresser is always giving—our lives, mercy, grace, love—He gives us the Vine.
Seek God though prayer and Bible study. Nothing else in life will change your life the way the living Vine will. Only through the Vine’s nourishment can we dwell and to walk in love. Love will conquer our selfishness.
Be a branch and the Vine will give you the indwelling power to be self-sacrificing, to overcome sin and unbelief, and produce good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush (Luke 6:44).
Thorns in the Garden Bible Journal Kit
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Includes 16 12×12 Background Papers!
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