God is on Your Side – Be Fruitful - 17 October 2019

Louise Gevers

“Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.” John 15:4-5 GNT

Last weekend we went apple-picking in the orchard of a nearby farm where I was delighted by the sight of hundreds of apple trees of different kinds in long rows, each one heavily laden with enormous, red, juicy apples such as I’d never seen before. There is something particularly appealing about voluptuous, ripe fruit hanging in all its fullness from the branches of a tree, bringing pride and pleasure to the farmer; so much so that it’s not surprising that Jesus uses the metaphor to describe the abundance of life in Him.

“An ongoing, dynamic relationship”, fairly sums up the state of prayer that we enjoy with God. This takes place as we remain attached to Jesus, the vine, and become rich, well nourished and vibrant because of what He feeds into us by His Spirit; just as a baby in the womb gets vital nourishment from the mother. If the placenta became detached, the baby wouldn’t survive. Cut the branch off the apple tree and the apples would slowly shrivel up. We need to be part of the Vine.

It’s all about relationship; if we only talk to God as a stranger, our conversation is distant and polite, but if we know Him as an intimate friend who knows everything about us, we are able to engage with Him at the deepest level. This doesn’t happen overnight. The key to this relationship is seen in what Jesus says: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it. My Father’s glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become my disciples.” (John 15:7-9) He will answer our requests because we will know His teachings and will not ask for things that would inhibit His Spirit working in us, which would reflect badly on God. Sometimes we misunderstand this in our desire for a certain outcome for our prayers. In Gethsemane even Jesus prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

When we show good fruit in our lives it brings glory to God, and we grow as His disciples. Outside of Jesus we can do nothing of genuine value – our best efforts, without His Spirit, are worthless. Jesus said, “Whoever does not remain in me is thrown out like a branch and dries up”. John 15:6 Have you ever seen fresh fruit on a dry branch?

Yet for those who love others as Jesus loves us, sacrificially, God’s glory will be shown in the fruit of love they bear.

Prayer: Lord, I know that true life means living in You, and that brings fruitfulness that grows through Your Spirit living in me. Thank You that You have promised to remain in me if I remain in You. Amen.

 

 

God is aan jou kant – wees vrugbaar - 17 Oktober 2019

Louise Gevers

Julle moet in My bly en Ek in julle. 'n Loot kan nie uit sy eie vrugte dra as hy nie aan die wingerdstok bly nie; en so julle ook nie as julle nie in My bly nie. “Ek is die wingerdstok, julle die lote. Wie in My bly en Ek in hom, dra baie vrugte, want sonder My kan julle niks doen nie. Johannes 15:4-5

Verlede naweek het ons gaan appels pluk op 'n nabye plaas. Die honderde verskillende soorte appelbome in lang rye het my groot vreugde verskaf, elkeen so vol enorme, rooi, sappige appels soos ek nog nooit voorheen gesien het nie. Daar is iets bekoorliks aan ryp vrugte wat aan die takke van 'n boom hang. Dit maak die boer trots en gee plesier en dit is dus nie verbasend dat Jesus hierdie metafoor gebruik het om 'n oorvloedige lewe in Hom te beskryf nie.

" 'n Volgehoue dinamiese verhouding" som die gebedslewe op wat ons met God kan geniet. Dit vind plaas as ons aan Jesus, die wingerdstok, verbind bly en ons ryklik gevoed en lewendig word deur die voedsel wat ons deur sy Gees ontvang, net soos 'n baba in die baarmoeder lewensbelangrike voeding van die moeder ontvang. As die plasenta loskom, sal die baba nie oorleef nie. As ons die tak van die appelboom afsny, sal die vrugte stadig maar seker verdroog. Ons moet deel wees van die Wingerdstok.

Dit gaan oor 'n verhouding. As ons met God praat soos met 'n vreemdeling is ons gesprek beleef, maar ver en koud, terwyl as ons Hom ken as 'n intieme vriend wat alles van ons weet, sal ons in staat wees om met Hom op die intiemste vlak te gesels. Dit gebeur nie oornag nie. Die sleutel tot hierdie verhouding is in Jesus se woorde: "As julle in My bly en my woorde in julle, vra dan net wat julle wil hê, en julle sal dit kry. My Vader word juis daardeur verheerlik dat julle baie vrugte dra en my dissipels is.” (Johannes 15:7-8) Hy sal ons versoeke beantwoord want ons sal  sy leringe ken en sal nie vir dinge vra wat die werking van sy Gees in ons kan verhinder nie en wat God in 'n slegte lig stel nie. Soms, in ons begeerte vir 'n sekere uitkoms vir ons gebede, verstaan ons dit verkeerd. Selfs Jesus het in Getsemane gebid: "Vader, as U wil, neem tog hierdie lydensbeker van My af weg. Laat nogtans nie my wil nie maar u wil geskied!” (Lukas 22:42)

Wanneer ons in ons lewe goeie vrugte dra, is dit tot eer van God, en ons groei in ons dissipelskap. Indien ons nie in Jesus is nie, kan ons niks van werklike waarde doen nie. Ons beste pogings sonder sy Gees is waardeloos. Jesus sê: "As iemand nie in My bly nie, word hy weggegooi soos 'n loot en hy verdroog." (Johannes 15:6) Het jy al ooit vars vrugte aan 'n droeë tak gesien?

In die lewens van diegene wat ander liefhet, soos Jesus ons liefhet, opofferend, sal God se eer wys in die vrugte van liefde wat hulle dra.

Gebed: Here, ek weet dat die ware lewe beteken dat ek in U leef en dat deur u Gees wat in my woon ek vrug sal dra. Dankie vir u belofte dat U in my sal bly as ek in U bly. Amen

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