“Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” John 15:4
Immediately after creating Adam and Eve God told them, “Be fruitful and multiply…fill the earth.” One of the purposes of marriage is to reproduce. We also know from Ephesians 5 that marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. It is interesting, then to see what Christ’s final words were to His followers before He ascended to heaven. In Matthew 28:19-20 He said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all I have commanded you.”
Isn’t it interesting that the first words of God and the final words of His Son were both to multiply…in other words, to bear fruit? Fruitfulness is so important to Christ that He spent a lot of time helping His disciples understand how to bear fruit in John 15.
The wonderful thing about fruitfulness is that it requires dependence on and cooperation with the Christ we are following…that is why Jesus said, “Abide in Me, apart from Me you can do nothing.” It’s all about the relationship. The Gospel isn’t just the imitation of Christ, it’s the incarnation of Christ in you. We are called to more than copying Him…we are called to manifest His presence.
When Paul wrote the words, “Be imitators of Christ,” he understood this truth. That is why he also wrote, ”I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Think about it, the only person that can imitate God is Christ. Incarnating Christ isn’t just doing the tasks that Jesus did, or taking up the causes that He might if He were on earth today…it is a living relationship with Him. The question is not, “What does Christ want me to do,” but, “What does Christ want to do now through me?”
Christ is our goal, so we must rediscover Him, the imcomparable Lord who saved us. When we connect with Him, the giver and sustainer of life, we will be empowered to deny ourselves and live beyond ourselves. Only then will our lives be truly fruitful.
Father, I know that I cannot do anything apart from You. Please forgive me for the times that I forget that, and try to live on my own. It is so easy to fall into the trap of following Christianity instead of following You. Lord, I want to know You and love You more. Show me today how to remain in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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