Remain // Lent 2018 Week 5


“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.” – John 15:5

In both seasons of singleness and chronic pain, despite knowing God was sovereign and in control of my life, I was often riddled with doubt, insecurity, fear, and despair among other not-so-God-given curses.

It’s tempting when in a wilderness season to drift from the Lord. It’s tempted to allow our anger, frustration, confusion, and doubt to draw us away from God’s side, Word, truth and promises.

But when we do, we are only hurting ourselves. We are only preventing ourselves from receiving His wonderful blessings. We are only hindering ourselves from receiving His healing, sanctification, grace and redemption.

We are only delaying the arrival of His great and many promises.

a call and a promise

Throughout Scripture, I have noticed a pattern of “a call and a promise.” There are many times God, often in the same sentence, will both call a character/us to something, and with that call comes a promise. Or I suppose you could look at it another way and say that with the promise comes a call.

Either way, it is a two-fold package; God’s call and promise go hand in hand.

  • In Genesis, God called Adam to not eat from the one tree {the tree of knowledge of good and evil} but promised him the provision of all other trees and plants in the Garden of Eden for his food.
  • Later in Genesis, God calls Abraham {Abram at the time} to leave his homeland and venture out on a journey that came with the promise that he would be the “father of many nations.”
  • In Exodus, God calls Moses to go bodly to Pharoah to tell him that God has commanded him to release the Israelite people from captivity and enslavement with the promise that He would tell him would help him speak and teach him what to say {Exodus 4:12}.

And these are just the first two chapters of the Bible.

the vine and the branches

In John 15, we see the metaphor of the vine and the branches {and fruit}. Now, I’m not much of a gardener, but Clay did get me a lemon tree as a wedding gift, and I have gotten to see this metaphor made tangible through this gift.

This gift has come with a call to work. There is work to do in maintaining and growing a lemon tree—or any plant for that matter. The lemon tree requires regular watering, uprooting of surrounding weeds that steal its nutrients, and pruning of certain branches among other tasks.

God promises us—His people, His followers—that He will remain in us, that He will help us to bear much fruit from our lives. I think all too often we stop at this and fail to truly grasp the weight of the reality that this promise comes with a very serious call—that we remain in Him.

Is there a place in your life you have drifted from God?

To remain in God requires much work—regular reading of His Word, time spent in prayer and seeking His face, laying down our burdens daily before Him, confessing our sins daily to Him, receiving His rest and grace and forgiveness also daily. Daily, daily, daily, there are so many tasks for us to do, so much work for us to embark upon, in holding up our end of the “deal” with God.

But with this very work comes the greatest promise of all—that God will hold up His end of the deal… that He will grow fruit in our lives.

God’s part and my part

When I was little, my neighbor often hired us to be used as models for his various photography projects. There was a pamphlet with my child self on the cover with the following words over it, “God’s Part, My Part.”

Not only in parenting, but in every aspect of our lives every day, we have a part to play in this great Story God is telling. And we can be certain that God is faithful to play His part.

He’s telling a great Redemption Story. No matter how far gone we feel, no matter how far we have strayed, He promises to always take us back. This past week I was reading through the book of Jeremiah and was shocked at how many times the phrases “I will bring you back” and “I will restore you” appear. I am so comforted and reassured by the promise of these words.

Our God is a good who wants none of us to stray, but all to come to repentance {2 Peter 3:9}. Our God is a God who so desperately longs for us to take hold of and walk in the promise of that John 10:10 life to the full. But we have to play our part, do the work, hold up our end of the deal, and answer His call.

How might God be calling you back to remain in Him?

When the work seems hard and the road seems long, let us hold tightly to the promise that He is remaining–and will continue to remain–in us. What a glorious promise! May we cling to it in these remaining two weeks of Lent and in whatever wilderness season we may find ourselves.

John 15:4 tells us,

“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.”

We may not be able to bear fruit if we don’t remain in Him, but just imagine all the fruit we can bear when we do.

I love being able to go outside and grab a lemon from our tree when I am preparing salad dressing or cooking a meal. Every time I do I think of how Clay’s and my relationship is one from which God has yielded so fruit; and yet I also think of all the time it took to yield that fruit and the work that is required—both in regards to the tree and with our marriage.

When you look around and see fruit hanging from tree branches, or even just plants growing up from the ground, would you remember this two-part deal God makes with us. Would you be reminded to continue to remain in Him. And would you be filled with all hope and joy and peace as you confidently walk in the promise that He will remain in you.

I encourage you to memorize this verse below this week. Make it the background of your phone as a daily reminder of the call and promise we are blessed to live out.


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *