It’s Spring, at least on this north half of the globe. New life is springing forth, even in the human heart. People desire to be outside enjoying the sunshine, to get their hands in the dirt preparing for planting, to ride bikes or to pack picnics and head to the park. This year, though, global circumstances have changed many of those life patterns.
Yet Spring is still a wonderful time for the Holy Spirit to teach us through “show and tell” what it means to abide in Jesus. He made this real to me some years ago while I sat with the Lord daily under a Dogwood tree in Virginia.
One morning the Holy Spirit made me aware of the buds on the tree. I remembered Jesus saying, “If you abide in Me…” For the next several days, He began His “show and tell” teaching of John 15:1-7. Daily He revealed depths of abiding that I had previously only taken for granted.
At the very beginning He established very strongly that the Father is the Vinedresser, Jesus is the Vine (tree trunk) and I am just a branch. Looking at the tree I realized that the branch just hung there. In and of itself, it had no life-giving intelligence of its own. It really didn’t know what it needed nor did it have any concept of seasons. So how did it know it was time to bud?
Spring – new life stirs. It became clear that the tree (The Vine) carried all the life-giving intelligence. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). And He is before all things and in Him ALL things exist (Colossians 2:17). Over the days as I watched the buds swell, tiny leaves burst forth and flowers began to open. Soon the branch was arrayed in full beauty and the fragrance was at peak intensity. And also, almost as an unexpected addition, the leaves were full and lush.
All this beauty took place on the branches, not on the vine. What? I knew if that branch were cut off or damaged, it would die. And that would have little or no effect on the tree. It would have continued to flourish and the other branches would fully develop its beauty.
All life was in the trunk of that tree. In due season it released sap that flowed into the branches bringing them new life. When the life from the trunk was pumped into these seemingly dead branches, they begin to green up.
Did the branches do anything differently. No, they just continued to hang there. What did the branches actually do to produce all that activity, beauty, and transformation? NOTHING! Absolutely nothing! That became such an obvious revelation. John15:5. . . “for without Me you can do nothing.”
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4). I began to realize that as a branch we have the privilege to bring forth all the beauty that is in The Vine. Just think on that! The branches get to show forth the glory of God.
There is so much more the Holy Spirit can teach you about what it means to abide. This is a great time for your family to talk and pray about deepening your understanding of abiding in Him and He abiding in you, individually and as a family.
Whatever the enemy meant for this season, God always has a redemptive purpose. He not only desires that many be saved, but that the members of our family be brought into a more imitate relationship with Jesus and with one another. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present outcome, that many people would be kept alive [as they are this day] (Genesis 50:20 Amp).
As a family watch a tree, bush, or vine bring forth life this Spring. Expect new revelation concerning abiding directly from The Vine.
Be intentional about abiding in Him and He in you during this trying time. Help one another and discuss as you abide how and if it changes attitudes and even the atmosphere of your home.
Take communion together. Become intently aware that when you eat His body, His life force is flowing into your branch. When you drink His blood, feel the life-giving force (sap) flowing into you. His DNA is infiltrating your branch. Believe that transformation is taking place – not just a ritual.
Fun thing: Each member stand up and contort your body into a branch. Talk about it and encourage each other.
Lord, teach us to abide in You so our fruit is always lush and life-giving to all those around us so that You are glorified. Help us to relax from our works and let Your life flow into us, producing fruit that You desire in our lives. Help us to realize that abiding is 24/7 and to be patient as we learn to know the season. Thank You for trusting us to be Your “branches.” Amen!