During the winter season our next door neighbour cut down a very large tree between our two gardens. Recently I was surprised to see that the large severed branches which have been stored for fuel are now shooting and bearing leaves. However, this process will soon come to an end because they are living on last year’s sap and have no life in themselves. I am reminded of how possible it is to be out of touch with Jesus and still seem to be bearing fruit, but it is not fruit of lasting value. As out text for today tells us genuine fruitfulness can only result from remaining in and depending on Jesus. All other fruit, like our severed branches, is destined for the fire.
The cut down tree looked an eye sore. There was not a single branch left and I felt sorry we had not left it alone. However, it has now sprung into new life. Leaves are growing from the trunk at ground level and in most unusual places, covering what remains of the tree and new branches are beginning to grow.
Jesus said that to be fruitful we must remain in Him. That means to be in intimate relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit. No true relationship with Jesus means no true fruit bearing. The fruit bearing Jesus speaks of is not a human possibility – it is Christ in us by His Spirit producing fruit that will last.
Jesus also said we are to remain in His love. Because we are loved by Him remaining and fruit bearing are glorious possibilities. To remain in the love of Jesus is to live a life of obedience to Him. Not calculated and worked out, but spontaneous obedience, continually dependent upon Him, communing with Him through the Holy Spirit and submissive to Him in everything.
Our old tree was cut down to a few feet above the ground but it now has a new beginning. Maybe you have experienced severe pruning in your life through times that have been hard. God intends it for good so that you will become more fruitful for His kingdom. With Him there is always a new beginning.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus and for what He accomplished when He died on the cross. Thank You that as Your child I am in Christ and nothing can separate me from His love. If there are things in my life that are a hindrance to the Holy Spirit filling me and overflowing from me, I ask You to show me, to convict me and to prune everything from me that keeps me back from the fullness of life in the Lord Jesus. Amen.
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