If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
The strongest person is one who is dependent on God. The greatest is the one who is humble before God and the tallest is the one who kneels and bends before God.
Once there’s a little boy who used to escape his bedroom after being punished. He would crawl out of his bedroom window down an old fruit tree to the ground. One day, his father told him that he was going to chop down the fruit tree, because it hadn’t borne any fruit for a number of years.
That evening, the boy and his friend bought a bushel of apples, and during the night, tied those apples on the barren branches. The next morning, the man could not believe his eyes. He said to his wife, “Honey, I can’t believe it! That old tree hasn’t yielded any fruit for years, and now it’s covered with apples. And, the most amazing thing is that it’s a pear tree!”
Sometimes people live like that of a tree that don’t yield any fruit and try to produce one by faking it or by trying too hard to produce on one’s effort.
In John 15, Christ reminds his disciples that their lives are meant to be fruitful. It means dynamism, maturity and life. It is God’s glory and design for each one of them to live such kind of life. If you are a disciple of Christ, this is also the kind of life that was meant for you. Yes, Christ showed us the life he designed for his disciples but this can only be experienced when we lean on Him, “if you remain in me and my words remain in you…,” (v.7) and not by trying hard or faking it. Lean on God does not only mean trusting on Him but it means a complete dependence on his power. It means relying on the grace of God that in your weakness God’s power is best at work (1 Cor.12:9).
Jesus said in the same passage these words, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name,” (v.16) It is God’s initiative and decision when he chose you and when God chooses it’s not because of your ability or capacity, what he is looking for is your availability and dependence on Him. In 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him,” and Isaiah 64:4 “For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” These will remind us that it is God at work and the role of his servant is to wait and be totally committed to Him. It is God who will strengthen and enable his people to be fruitful and their role is just to lean on Him. This is what Paul understood when he said,
“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1Cor.15:9). Paul, who once was a murderer and persecutor of the church, was chosen by God to be an apostle. But he was not simply an apostle but one of the most fruitful and effective apostle. It was God’s grace at work and as a result he became fruitful, he worked harder than anybody but not because of his effort or power but because of the grace of God that was in him. It is God who is at work in his life that made him fruitful. Unless we understand this we will work out to fulfill our call with our own effort instead of waiting and being dependent on God that will lead to fake fruits or just simply fruitless effort. The waiting on God is never passive but active. It is a continuous yielding to God’s leading and direction. When you lean on God you are watchful of what God would say and yield to it. I was reminded of the illustration used by Charles Swindoll in his book “Living Above the Level of Mediocrity” that goes this way,
“Imagine, if you will, that you work for a company whose president found it necessary to travel out of the country and spend an extended period of time abroad. So he says to you and the other trusted employees, “Look, I’m going to leave. And while I’m gone, I want you to pay close attention to the business. You manage things while I’m away. I will write you regularly. When I do, I will instruct you in what you should do from now until I return from this trip.” Everyone agrees.
He leaves and stays gone for a couple of years. During that time he writes often, communicating his desires and concerns. Finally he returns. He walks up to the front door of the company and immediately discovers everything is in a mess–weeds flourishing in the flower beds, windows broken across the front of the building, the gal at the front desk dozing, loud music roaring from several offices, two or three people engaged in horseplay in the back room. Instead of making a profit, the business has suffered a great loss. Without hesitation he calls everyone together and with a frown asks, “What happened? Didn’t you get my letters?”
You say, “Oh, yeah, sure. We got all your letters. We’ve even bound them in a book. And some of us have memorized them. In fact, we have ‘letter study’ every Sunday. You know, those were really great letters.” I think the president would then ask, “But what did you do about my instructions?” And, no doubt the employees would respond, “Do? Well, nothing. But we read every one!”
Your life was not meant to be a mess by just reading God’s letter to you. He designed your life to be fruitful by completely yielding to his revelation. So watch and yield, keep leaning on God, then your life will be as He designed it to be!