“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:1-11)

Are you completely joyful? If not, John has a word for you: you don’t ask for enough.

If you abide in Christ, if you allow his love to flow through you, you will bear fruit. You have already been cleansed; now you need only abide. Live in the word. Let the word live and grow in you, and you will bear more fruit.

The fruit is not for yourself. Fruit is external. Others pick it, and are nourished, and are delighted. Fruit may be love, joy, peace. And kindness. Fruit may be a glass of water. Fruit may be the salvation of the world. But you are not bearing fruit unless you receive the love of God and it takes root in the dark, sprouts, blossoms, grows, ripens, and in turn is taken and eaten. In this God is glorified.

How do you excel at anything? You gotta want it. Allow yourself to desire love, and joy, and peace, with an unquenchable, eternal fire. Don’t quench the Spirit. It’s true that only God knows whether it is better for you to be sick or healed. It’s true that only Christ can save. But God wants Christ to save through you, his body. Ask, beg, plead, for more love, joy, peace, fruit. Know that this is also God’s desire, God’s glory. It will be done for you. You will bear much fruit and your joy will be complete.

Sing: Bread of Heaven, on Thee we Feed

Categories: Meditation

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin University and the director of ccel.org and hymnary.org.