As I have been pondering the prodigal story the last two weeks, I stumbled upon another passage that I want to reference here today.
I took this from The Passion Translation, and the title of this passage is called, “Jesus the Living Vine.”
“I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine.
“I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless.If a person is separated from me, he is discarded; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!
“I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love.My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!
“So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends
“You show that you are my intimate friends when you obey all that I command you. I have never called you ‘servants’, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants, and servants don’t always understand what the master is doing. But I call you my most intimate and cherished friends, for I reveal to you everything that I’ve heard from my Father. You didn’t choose me, but I’ve chosen and commissioned you to go into the world to bear fruit. And your fruit will last, because whatever you ask of my Father, for my sake, he will give it to you! So this is my parting command: Love one another deeply!”
-John 15:1-17 TPT
This translation just hits differently for me. I was thinking about the prodigal and how it’s a story about connection, and that is what lead me to this one. Right at the beginning, connection is mentioned. It says you must remain in life-union with Jesus to bear much fruit. Intimacy is repeated many times in this passage as a way to express the closeness He is trying to convey in our divine connection with Him. The love that is mentioned says you must continually let His love nourish your hearts. That is such interesting language, for nourishment is something you think of with food as a way of healing us. It goes on to say that Jesus is continually empowered and nourished by this love. Why? Because He stayed close in communion with the Father through prayer, and I believe in inner dialogue with the Father.
Then we come to the most familiar part of the passage about, “no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for his friends.” I can’t help but think about my husband Ben when I read this part of the passage. He loved his friends, and we believed that in heaven he was given a choice, and he chose to stay for the greater glory that would come in his absence. Others more than myself believed he sacrificed his life for those we can’t even name to one day surrender their hearts to the name above all names—Jesus. More lives would be saved if he didn’t return than if he did. It’s a hard truth that only heaven will reveal, but I have a feeling that impression in our hearts is real. We had the faith to believe for his resurrection, but it just wasn’t the better ending in our God story.
That has been part of my fuel to keep going and discovering the more Jesus has in store. He left me here, and so He must think I have more to accomplish here. I have been curious to learn how to hear and communicate with the Father since that day. I actually feel a deeper connection, for I believe I was given access to an eternal realm since my loved one is living in that realm as we speak. If the two are one, then I can connect to the One as well, right!
I am reading a book called Created to Hear God by Havilah Cunnington. She mentioned that going to others to get to God has its place, but it will never satisfy your need for Him. She used the analogy of us being a reservoir versus a well. They both carry water, but only one of them never runs out. Going to others for wisdom or for a good word has its place, but it doesn’t replace our need for the Father. This passage in John 15 is really showing us just what that access is and the fruit of that access. I can tell you since I start journaling and digging deeper, I have learned it’s a well that never runs dry. I am so thankful for His divine wisdom that has come to guide me time and time again. Now, let me tell you, it has been frustrating, for our flesh just wants someone to give you the answers. That seems like the easy solution, but its short-sighted and actually stunts our growth long term. This whole passage is all about staying connected to the Source.
Havilah also went on to say, “People who are connected to God are powerful conductors of supernatural electricity.” I love that! I believe that to be true. I have felt more supernaturally charged since Ben passed than any other time in my life, and I have needed His wisdom more than ever and have felt His closeness more than ever as well. This is what this whole abiding in the vine daily living lifestyle is all about. We connect to Him, and He give us what we need to continue living free with Him. Its liberating to feel like you can talk to God and He gives you answers higher than your own. It’s humbling and eye opening at times, but He is always encouraging and revealing as He’s healing. Life is hard, but life without Jesus is harder.
“You didn’t choose me, but I’ve chosen and commissioned you to go into the world to bear fruit. And your fruit will last, because whatever you ask of my Father, for my sake, he will give it to you! So this is my parting command: Love one another deeply!”
Your fruit will last when you bear fruit in His name. This is my life’s work, to leverage the grief by developing resources to help others find their way to Jesus, whether in pain or joy. I will continue to develop as the Lord wills. It’s been some of the most challenging and exciting years of my life. I am just getting started, and I have to say, you haven’t seen nothing yet!
I hope this word here today encourages you to keep seeking the Father until you hear Him. If you are struggling to understand, or whether you are hearing from the Father or not, this book I referenced today can help. For me, it took a pen in my hand to dialogue with the Father. Some people feel things and get an impression, some see things like a movie or picture in their mind’s eye, some know things (that is more me, an inner knowing, and I feel like a push to respond and explore certain things at certain times), and lastly, some hear things, which I believe is most commonly stated by preachers and leaders, but I’m not so sure it’s the most common one people actually are connected too.
Well, this has been a fun topic to explore. Tune in next week from the land of the more, for Jesus continues to inspire me to write, and for that I am eternally grateful. Amen.
Until next time,