- Overcomer Literature Trust
“YOU ARE THE BRANCHES.”
By Andrew Murray.
In John 15 v5 we have Jesus words, “I am the vine, you are the branches”. The branch grows out of the vine, and there it lives and grows, and in due time bears fruit. It has no responsibility except to receive from the root and stem, sap and nourishment. And if we, by the Holy Spirit, knew our relationship to Jesus Christ, our work would be changed into the most heavenly thing. Instead of there being soul-weariness and exhaustion our work would be like a new experience linking us to Jesus.
Unfortunately our work can come between us and Jesus. The very work that He has for us to do we take up in such a way that it separates us from Christ. As we labour in the vineyard we may feel that we have too much to do and so not enough time for close communion with Jesus. Our work weakens our inclination to pray, and too much contact with others can darken our spiritual life. It is a sad thought that the bearing of fruit might separate the branch from the vine because we have looked upon our work as something other than the branch bearing fruit in dependance on the vine.
The life of the branch is a life of absolute dependance. The branch has nothing, it just depends upon the vine for everything. Those words, absolute dependance, mean to abide before Him in the utter helplessness of one who knows nothing, is nothing and can do nothing. Think about that word nothing. If I am something, then God is not everything, but when I become nothing God can become all, and the everlasting God in Christ can reveal Himself fully.
Become nothing in deep reality, and seek to become poorer and lower and more helpless that Christ may work in you. It is His work. The branch has nothing but what it receives from the vine, and we can have nothing but what we receive from Jesus.
The life of the branch is not only a life of entire dependence but of deep restfulness. If you would be a true branch of Christ, the living Vine, just rest on Him. Let Christ bear the responsibility. We try to be dependent upon Christ, but we worry about this absolute dependence, we try but somehow fail . Let us sink down into entire restfulness -
‘In Thy strong hand I lay me down, so shall the work be done,
for who can work so wondrously as the Almighty One?’
Let us take our place every day at the feet of Jesus in the blessed peace and rest that come from the knowledge that -
‘I have no care, my cares are His, I have no fear,
He cares for all my fears’.
We must understand that it is the Lord Jesus who wants to work through us. If we feel that we are lacking real love, it will come from Jesus. He will give the divine love into our hearts with which we can love. That is the meaning of the assurance, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit" and of that other statement, “For Christ’s love compels us”. Christ can give us a fountain of love so that we cannot help loving the most wretched and the most ungrateful.
Rest in Christ who gives wisdom and strength and that restfulness will often prove to be the very best part of our message. If we plead and argue with people they can get the idea that someone is arguing with them. But if we let the deep rest of God fill us and we rest in Christ Jesus, that restfulness will bring a blessing even greater than our words.
The branch also teaches the lesson of fruitfulness. The Lord Jesus often repeated the word fruit in that parable. He spoke first of fruit, then of more fruit and finally of much fruit. We are ordained not only to bear fruit, but to bear much fruit. “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit”. In the first place Christ said, “I am the Vine, and My Father is the gardener”. My Father is the gardener who cares for Me and you. He who will watch over the connection between Christ and the branches is God, and it is in the power of God through Christ that we are to bear fruit.
Unless the children of God are filled with the sap of the heavenly Vine, except we are filled with the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus, we cannot bear much of the real heavenly grape. We are the branches but we cannot bear heavenly fruit unless we are in close connection with Jesus Christ.
Every vine provides that peculiar aroma and juice which gives the grape its particular flavour. In the same way there is in the heart of Christ Jesus a life and a love, a Spirit and a blessing, and a power for us that are entirely heavenly and divine, and that will come into our hearts. Stand in close connection with the heavenly Vine. The Holy Spirit is the life of the heavenly Vine, and what we must receive from Christ is nothing less than a strong inﬂow of the Holy Spirit. Do not expect Christ to give a bit of strength here and a bit of blessing and power there. As the vine does its work in giving its own peculiar sap to the branch, so expect Christ to give His own Holy Spirit into our hearts, and then we will bear fruit. If we would bear more fruit we just require more of Jesus in our heart and life.
Christ Jesus said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches”, in other words, ‘I, the living one who have so completely given Myself to you, am the Vine. You cannot trust Me too much. I am the Almighty Worker, full of divine life and power. You are My branches, give yourselves utterly to Me’.
From: ‘Absolute Surrender’.