#899. To abide requires waiting (15/9/23)
This week we have been considering what Jesus’ teaching on remaining in the vine from John 15 means for us personally.
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 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.’ (John 15:1-4)
‘We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.’ (Psalms 33:20)
Lesson: To abide in the vine requires a willingness to patiently and prayerfully wait for Him.
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Do you enjoy waiting for things? In the past, we would have had to grow the food, sew the clothes, build the house, make the furniture, practice in order to put on the show… or wait for someone else to do it. Today, we want things now or by tomorrow! Yesterday, we looked at the fruit of the flesh as compared to the fruit that the Spirit produces in us. A feature of the fruit of being in the vine is 'patience,' and oftentimes this has to be exerted toward God.
When Jesus commands us to abide in Him, the vine, this includes the willingness to 'wait.' God does things in His own time. We may wish that He would hurry up or, sometimes, slow down, but our times are in His hands.
This analogy of the vine, branches, and fruit reveals that God often works, as in nature, over a long period of time or season. Abiding means choosing to wait prayerfully, faithfully, and hopefully for God to act.
After the resurrection, we read of the disciples’ desire for Jesus to act in a certain way and quickly:
‘Then they gathered round him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’’ (Acts 1:6-8)
Jesus refuses to work according to their schedule and agenda. He answers their question with the promise of the Spirit, which is not the answer they expected and may well have seemed irrelevant to their question. Likewise, as we wait for Jesus to act, He may not give us all the answers that we want, but He tells us to abide in Him—the vine—and we will bear much fruit. 'Abide in Christ' may not be the answer you feel you need, but it is the truest thing that you need to know right now.
To abide in the vine requires a willingness to patiently and prayerfully wait for Him. We are all, or should be, waiting and pursuing God for things. We long for God to break in; maybe we are asking for healing, restoration, salvation, revival, growth… may we all be able to say: 'We wait in hope for the Lord' and so remain in the vine.
Together in September
In September, we are having two Together Evenings, on Wednesday the 6th and Wednesday the 13th from 7p.m. (When there will be a light meal provided).
We will be using this time to come together for worship, teaching and prayer with a view to re-launching community groups afterwards.
Please put these dates in your diary, we would love to see as many people there as possible.