The key to being effective as a Christian, powerful, and producing great fruits is not really how much of the Bible we know, or how long we pray, or only going to church.
This helps but the key to being used greatly by God is an intimate union with Jesus Christ. This is when we are wholly, intimately and sincerely connected to Jesus Christ.
It is being in an intimate and close relationship with Jesus, which He compares to the relationship between a vine and its branches. Today, Jesus says He is the vine and we are only the branches. The branches must be dependent on the Vine.
The Father is the Vine grower.
In today’s gospel, Jesus compares the Father to a vine grower. The Vine grower does everything to see that the branches grow.
In essence, God is lovingly tending us, He has already blessed us (Gen 1:27, Ephesians 1:3). He gives us His True Vine so that He can nourish us. He wants us to be close to Jesus the True Vine and dependent on Him.
Therefore, being productive and unproductive is now in our hands and dependent on how attached we are to the Vine.
The Father/vine grower does two things First, “every branch that does not bear fruit, He takes away”. Second, “every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit”
The Only Way to bear Fruit.
The only way to bear fruit is to remain close to the True Vine since we are merely branches. It means we are just nothing. To be a branch means you must root yourself under the spiritual hand.
To be rooted In Christ is the key to be productive and the only way to remain unproductive is to cut off from the True Vine.
Jesus says cut off from me and you can do nothing. It then means that the only way to bear fruit is to remain close to Jesus. Therefore, intimate union with Jesus Christ is the secret of bearing good fruit.
When we are connected to Him we can become productive and hence bear more fruit. When we bear more fruit, the Father continues to do His work in us.
He Prunes us.
To prune means to shave off. It can involve disciplining. This is the reason we are disciples. It means we follow his teaching and disciplining.
God can give us challenges, crosses, trials etc to discipline us and make us better. The more He prunes us is the more we are better.
Therefore, to become better as Christians we have to be pruned. God may allow us to pass through great difficulties to understand the world better, to give you a heart of compassion and to be very close to Him.
Many people today who are seeking the face of Jesus are those who are passing through great difficulties. In essence, God uses some experiences to draw us closer to Him once again.
This helps us to be close to God. Hence, intimate union with Jesus Christ is the secret to be better as a child of God.
This is the key to understand that every experience that you face as a Christian maybe for a reason best known to God. It is not all of them that are bad. Some of them come to help you.
We shall know this if we follow His word, and the only way to stand and remain strong is to follow His Word.
Jesus tells His disciples that they are already pruned clean because of the word which He has spoken. Hence, when we follow His word, we will understand Him better, understand whatever God is doing in us and know what He wants. Then, we would not see everything as bad. Because we know it can still be the hand of God showing you the way even with a mighty hand.
Hence, the word becomes our guide in temptations and difficulties not to lose our faith or sin against God. Knowing the word helps us to remain strong in faith even when challenges come to make us derail.
Jesus is the True Vine.
The mere use of the word “true ” indicates that there are others that are false. We are attached to so many things in the world that today blur our reasoning and somewhat influence us negatively.
The only true character that is fruit assuring is the Only True Vine, Jesus Christ. Therefore, remaining close to Him is the best way to make your light shine and the best thing that will happen to any soul.
Let us Remain.
Let us remain close to Jesus despite whatever challenges we might face in the future. The word “Remain” in greek means meinate—from meno, which means remain there, stay, fix yourself there, or conform yourself.
Hence, Jesus tells us to fix ourselves in Him, conform ourselves in His image and likeness and remain close to Him.
This describes an intimate and important relationship. It means to be close and intimately abide in Jesus. Intimate union With Jesus Christ is the Key.
It is the only way to win the heart of the Father, the only way to bear fruit, and the only way for our prayers to be highly effective.
Remember He says “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and He will do it for you.
The ” Words” there does not mean cramming them but doing them. It is the only way to be a true disciple of Jesus. Intimate union with Jesus Christ is the secret of grace, spiritual strength and spiritual gifts.
As we remain in Him, His divine life flows in and through us, because the fruits of our Christian life are not merely dependent on our efforts but the power and work of God through us.
In fact, intimate union with Jesus Christ is the only way to enjoy your prayer life. Hence, when you do this, you enjoy going to church, because you begin to understand the need to be in God’s presence. It will help you understand the power of prayers, praises and visitation to the Blessed Sacrament.
Through spiritual activities, God blesses His children with spiritual gifts, wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
In every ramification, sincere and intimate union with Jesus Christ is the surest way to make your gift blossom.
A beautiful question for us then is this: do I abide in Jesus or am I far from Jesus? Jesus and the world which one are we more united to? Who do you truly attach to? The fruits we bear give us the true answer.
May God be with us today and may His grace remain abundant in our life as we go closer to Jesus. Amen