90 Days of Prayer – Day Twenty
“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.”
The Christ Connection
In John 15:4 Jesus gives a simple principle of Kingdom living, and our primary responsibility so foundational to genuine Biblical Christianity – “Remain in me.” Jesus said “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.”
The word “remain” appears eleven times in the first ten verses of John 15. The word remain literally means: to stay, to stand fast, dwell, continue, be permanent. The lesson here is for Christ followers to consciously live in unbroken fellowship with Christ. Jesus is teaching the number one principle of God’s Kingdom, which is His Presence within us. We are to live in the consciousness of Him with us and in us every minute of every day, for the rest of our life.
Connected by Grace Through Faith
Does the branch have to work hard to remain connected to the vine? Does it have to labor intensely to have the life from the vine flow into it? The answer of course is no. The branch need only be itself and remain where it’s connected to the vine, and it will bear fruit naturally, because that’s what it was designed to do. It’s the work of the vine to supply the life to the branch and the branch’s work to stay connected to the vine. The fruit will grow naturally.
Intimate fellowship with God came by way of our being restored to relationship with Him, by grace through faith. This is the number one fact of redemption. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5). Paul lived by the Christ connection and said “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). He could tel the Church at Colossae “ So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him” (Colossians 2:6). So, remain in Him!
The Abundant Fruit of Answered Prayers
From John 15 verses 7 thru 10 Jesus speaks about the fruitful life of continual asking and receiving answers to prayer. He describes the rewarding lifestyle of prayerfulness that comes from the joy of continual unbroken fellowship in Christ’s presence. Walking in, and enjoying God’s love for us, imparts the necessary faith and godly desires to ask and receive according to His will. This Christ connection glorifies God naturally and almost effortlessly, because it is all by grace through faith in Christ alone. Jesus said that the vine supplies the life, the branches simply display the fruit of the life that’s always flowing through them.
Prayer flows naturally from believers who rest on the facts of redemption. The first fact of our redemption is the presence of the risen Christ living within us, He supplies the life. Prayer becomes a flowing river from the believer who is anchored in continual fellowship with God. Just as the fruit comes naturally out of the branch, so will effective prayer and fruitful service flow naturally out of you because your connected to Christ.
Remain Connected and Be at Rest
You will often not even be conscious of any effort of your own when your priority is intimate fellowship with God. Your living by Christ supporting you as the vine supports the branch. In the verses that follow in John 15, Jesus goes on to explain how naturally the answers to prayer will flow through anyone who remains in a lifestyle of continual fellowship with Him. This is the power of the Christ Connection. To stay connected by grace through faith, let God do the work. Trust Christ to support you, rest in your connection with Him, Be yourself, Be fruitful, and Be Encouraged! -JSP
* Image from “The Christ Connection I” (Osborn Ministries International) 555 S. Memorial Drive Tulsa, OK 74112