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. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
I have come to realize that while sin is obviously damaging to the heart of a Christian, sin that we are not actively battling is even worse. When I get complacent with the sin in my life, it makes it really hard to spend time genuinely connected to the Lord. I’m by no means saying that I have to be perfect to connect with God, but when I become complacent in sin, or even try to justify my sin, the results are devastating. It’s hard to be a good husband, pastor, friend, and follower of Christ when I feel that separation of the Lord.
This verse really illustrates that feeling in a tangible way: “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.” I can honestly say that in this season of my life, I am hungry for correction. I’m hungry to be disproved and to even have my sin exposed, and that’s because of the truth of this passage. I know that I will never have a life that is completely free of sin, but I think I can strive to lead a life that battles every day against sin…one that finds complacency unacceptable. That’s the point of this parable that Jesus taught. We are to abide in Him so that He can abide in us, and through the process of pruning dead branches (which means to cut out the sin in our lives) we can bear the kind of fruit that Jesus spoke about.