John 15:1-11 NIV
I have an NIV journaling Bible and the word ‘abide’ is not used in this translation. In the Greek ‘abide’ is ‘meno’ and means: abide, dwell, remain in, continue in.
In studying, I learned so much that I decided on a simple illustration as I know that I will want to put more on that page later.
The whole passage boils down to abiding in the Lord, His Word, and His Love. I decided that was the crux of all of it: abide. And not only should I dwell in Him, but He will dwell in me. We are one when I follow His commands, with His love, and allow myself to be cleansed through the pruning of His Word.
The thing about a vine is that the branches don’t try to grow, they just do because the nutrients come from the vine. Sometime branches die, and they need to be cut off and thrown out; they’ve outgrown their purpose. A dead branch takes up nutrients it doesn’t need. It’s time to make room for a healthy one to grow.
When a branch does bear fruit it needs to be pruned afterward so that new fruit can grow in the next season.
So, all this cutting is not a bad thing. Healthy fruit will grow after the branch has been pruned. Dead or fruitful, either way, branches will be cut. And cutting is unpleasant, but necessary. When the new fruit grows you forget the pain and, instead, rejoice.
How do we, the branches get trimmed? In verse 2 the word ‘pruned’ or ‘purged’ is kathairo and really means ‘cleaned out’. In verse 3 Jesus tells us that we are already clean by His words. The Greek word for ‘clean’ is kathoros. His spoken words to me have already pruned me. And, according to verse 7, if the Words I actually heard stay inside me, I can ask anything of the Lord and it will be done for me.
I can go on and on. But I’ll let you hear from Him yourself. That is why I didn’t want to fill the page yet. I’m getting so much out of this I could fill an art journal.
*** I got a new toy I wanted to use, a Silhouette Portrait ‘die’ cutter. I had it cut out the word so I could use my Red Folk Art metallic acrylic paint for the lettering. I applied stencil adhesive to the back of my die cut and placed it on the page so it wouldn’t move and paint wouldn’t bleed beneath the letters. Well, it ended up tearing a bit of the page and still leaking under a couple of letters. At first I was disappointed, but then I remembered that this process isn’t about perfection, but learning to express His heart even in my imperfect way.
I used a small angled brush with metallic copper acrylic and slowly dragged it across the page for the branch. I twisted the brush a bit to give it a branch-like quality. Added leaves and a small bunch of grapes later. I felt it needed something else, so I wet and put Gelatos onto a piece of Mylar and smeared it over the page.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
Remain in me, as I also 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.
I am the vine; 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. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
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.