“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.” John 15:5-7
I heard Kyle Idleman cover this verse in such an enlightening way. I want to try to unpack this verse and the imagery that comes along with it. Please understand this is my interpretation, however I think it’s pretty clear.
How can we be the branch if we think we’re the vine?
He is the power, but we lose sight of that. This is especially true when our branches are strong and bear “imitation fruit”. We depend on ourselves to solve our problems. We share our logic as if God is not the one who ensures we have the privilege to take the breath needed to speak. We forget the specific instructions written in the word. We even believe that production of our own inner strength is what connects us to Christ. With this misled interpretation, we expect to succeed in the form of financial or worldly promotion. And then, we equate successes, achieved without Christ, to a blessing.
How can we be the branch of his vine if we are serving another god?
Our thoughts of being blessed, from a western perspective, is rooted in our desire to have more…more money, more stuff, to be more like our peers (or better than). This is a significant misunderstanding of what Christ has for us. Furthermore, it’s a misinterpretation of the definition of blessing. The idolatry of money, competition is in opposition with Christ as a priority.
In John 15:7, Jesus is deliberately telling us that we must remain in Him and in his words to receive what we think of as blessings. So often I see people affirming and claiming promotion and wealth - blessings, as if our affirmations and words have supernatural power. But I believe the affirmation spoken out loud and to others is not necessary for God. It may help you mentally, but I think God doesn’t need constant reminders of our wishes. Our faith is what carries the supernatural connection and our prayers coupled with obedience is what moves God’s hand. In James 5:16, it says “the prayer of a RIGHTEOUS person is powerful and effective.” Living worthy and righteous isn’t about our own internal power, but about our relationship with Christ. A relationship that’s available to anyone at any time.