Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“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.
When I look at the accomplishments I have done, the line “apart from me, you can do nothing” keeps me grounded. I am who I am today because of God. I have what I have today because of God. I can do what I can do (present, past, and future) because of God. Even my genetics comes from God. The fact that I am a woman born into my family, living in this time and age, sitting in my comfortable little room – this comes from God.
It’s an easy temptation to look at accomplishments and the fruitfulness of our labor as something that we have done on our own. We train hard, work hard, spend sleepless nights finishing tasks, then joyfully reap the rewards of our faithfulness and diligence (there is nothing wrong with this!). In time, we get so used to ourselves and what we can do to the point that we forget how everything has been lent to us temporarily—including our very lives. Every reward we receive is simply a little gift God allows us to enjoy.
It is beautiful that we become our most fruitful selves when we are in Jesus. This is because God knows what we were made for. He designed us with our particular gifts, temperaments, looks, and capabilities. We were made for specific roles and specific destinies for a reason. Ephesians 2:10 states: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” There is something God has already prepared for us to do; to walk into; to be fruitful in.
God also knows WHO we were made for. Our WHAT in life will always be incomplete if there is no WHO. The Bible says that eternity is in the heart of man (see Ecc 3:11). There is no greater privilege than to live a life where we use our gifts, our intellect, our abilities, our wealth– everything we are and have for the sake of eternity. Everything in this world is fleeting, but when Christ becomes our all in all, our lives become super-charged with the greatest purpose of all—knowing God and loving Him. The Bible says this about eternity: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
The Apostle Paul sums up life’s purpose well: “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
The fruit we bear are crowns that we can lay at the feet of our Savior. Apart from Him, we can really do NOTHING. It is our joy, just as it is His, to be fruitful in our lives. He does want our success and growth. He came to give us life and life abundantly. He wants the fullest life possible for us.
And this can only happen when we share life with an unstoppable God. In Him we can say, “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Questions to ponder on: How are we in our fruitfulness? Are we connected to the Vine? Have we consciously partnered our lives with the Living Savior who has plans for us? Remember: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.