Week 29 Word: Abide
Week 29 Text: John 15:1-4
Written By: Whitney Putnam
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:1-4 ESV)
I don’t have a green thumb but I do have a 6×9 foot garden bed in my backyard and somehow it has watermelon, cucumber, and tomatoes growing like mad. I’m attributing that success to Missouri’s rainfall and sunshine, not my green thumb or Pinterest boards.
Truth be told, I’m quite excited about my little garden and the dirt under my fingernails. I probably won’t be getting a manicure anytime soon because the dirt makes me feel human and quite alive.
And I like both of those feelings.
Pruning on the other hand, gives me anxiety. As I cut away branches, I typically wonder whether or not I am going to stall the plant’s growth. As I cut away yellow leaves, I find myself thinking, “I certainly hope this is right.”
Fortunately, God never thinks this. In fact, He prunes so that even more fruit might grow. Why? Because God is good and is working all things together for good. Even if a blanket of sadness is looming, we can trust that He is pruning.
What many of us don’t see is that Jesus creates a play on words in verse 3 when He says, “Already you are clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” In Greek, the word “prune” means “cleanse.” So to confuse us a bit more, God is saying, “You are already clean, you are already pruned — completely.”
Jesus-follower, you are cleansed, pruned, already full of fruit! You can abide in the vine for this fact alone. You have already passed from death to life. (John 5:24)
Your abiding has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with the vine. You will never be cut off from the vine and burned. Once joined, always joined.
Now, the joy we receive from the abiding – this is something different. For joy comes when we experience the fullness of abiding in Him. We can be attached and feel almost nothing. Or we can be attached and feel the vine’s nutrients enriching us, strengthening us, turning our faces to heaven.
Ever notice how a sunflower will track the sun, its chin lifted to the light, securely attached to the stem?
So it is when we track God while abiding in Him. It’s here that we find true happiness in our suffering, in the mundane, in lifting our chins — again and again. So, dear daughter, don’t worry about the abiding; you are already completely connected. But do ask for His joy. And track the Son. He can’t wait to lift your chin.
1. Get out your planner and actually write on each day: “Ask God for His abiding joy” and see what He brings you each day. Make sure to end the day jotting a few notes of the ways you experienced His joy.
2. Get outside and lift your chin. Take a few deep breaths and remember you are already abiding in the vine. Then thank Him for one thing, chin lifted and let Him respond.