Jesus is the vine, we are all branches growing off of Him. He feeds us, nourishes us, provides life for us, and keeps us growing. We just grow. That’s the picture He paints in John 15, in the first 17 verses.
A couple of things I noticed this time through. God cuts all of the branches, no matter what. Some He cuts off and throws away, others He prunes. But He is going to cut us all. Hmmm…. What does that look and feel like in reality? What does it mean for Him to prune the branches that are healthy?
Then in the middle of this, He discusses loving one another, just like He loves us. What a call. He gives everything for us, and then expects us to do the same for everyone else. Man. That’s a challenge. Just this morning, I had someone completely abuse the relationship I have with them. It’s been going on for the last six years that I have known this person. It has happened again. I don’t want to love them, I want to hit them. But, that isn’t our call. And Christ ties these two ideas together.
If I am going to remain in Jesus, if I am going to be allowed to continue growing and thriving, if I am not going to be cut off and thrown away, then I have to love others. That’s not always what I want to hear. But Jesus connects the two ideas right here. How do we obtain the love of God in our hearts? How do we get His joy? By loving Him. How do we love Him? By loving others. When we do this, for Him, then He will produce fruit in our lives. Things like peace, hope, joy, love, kindness, generosity, etc.
So, we love people. Not in our own strength, or even because we want to. We love them, because in doing so we love God. And we grow.