“I chose you…to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” Jn 15:16 NIV
Before leaving this world Jesus took His disciples aside to prepare them for the problems they would face after He was gone: “I am the vine; you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing…I chose you…to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (vv. 5,16 NIV). Here Jesus teaches us two important things: (1) You only discover who you are, in relationship to Christ. “Apart from me you can do nothing.” When you forget that, you end up trying to do things only God can do, like solving your problems your own way, or promoting yourself through clever strategies. You’re not blessed in any endeavor because of your performance; you’re blessed because of your connection to Christ. Unless you understand that, you’ll waste your time chasing people who have no more power than you do. Your strength and success are in Christ, the Vine, so stay connected! (2) Before you get the fruit that remains, you lose the fruit that’s temporary. “He cuts off every branch that…bears no fruit” (v. 2 NIV). You can be a good branch, connected to a good vine, bearing good fruit, and suddenly God starts cutting back certain things in your life. Things you thought would always be there are taken away; now it feels like you’re going backwards. It takes faith to believe that God would permit you to lose what you’re proud of, and what you draw your security from in order to give you something better—fruit that lasts, enduring success. So, difficult though it may be, let it go. God has something better in mind for you.