If I had to guess, I would say He wants to hear you are “thriving!”
In this passage, we see various types of branches. We see branches with a lot of green leaves, but no fruit. We also have others with fruit, more fruit, much fruit and “so much fruit that..." And God wants us to constantly increase our fruit till we are that thriving “so much fruit that” kind-of-a-branch.
But what is fruit? Fruit is the life of Jesus in us, on us and through us. Fruit is the growing of the character of Jesus in our lives. It is the fruit of the Spirit. It is evidence that we are His disciples and it is the reproduction of the life of Christ in others as we make new disciples.
If we are just barely surviving as a branch, God wants to pick us up, dust us off and expose us to more light and nutrition so we can bear fruit. And if we are bearing fruit, He wants to prune us so we bear more fruit! Then if we are bearing more fruit, he wants us to continually abide in Him so that we may bear much fruit! Ultimately, He wants us to bear “so much fruit that” we will be known as His disciples. You see, God meets us wherever we are and in whatever condition we happen to be to help us bear more fruit.
But “how much fruit does God want me to bear?” The answer is always “more!” And a branch that is growing and increasing in fruitfulness is a thriving branch.
So, if Jesus asks, “how are you doing?” what will be your answer? If you are not thriving (and none of us thrive continually), what should you do?
John 15 teaches us to do the following:
- Give it up – You are just a branch and branches can’t sustain life on their own.
- Get humble and abide – Draw your life from the vine. Our best self-effort produces frustration, not fruitfulness. See verse 4.
- Be encouraged – the fruit of the Spirit is abundant and available for those who abide. For every type of branch in the passage, God offers more fruit!
- Trust and obey – When we obey out of love, we are abiding in Christ. See verse 10.
- Expect more joy! – God promises us more fruit with more joy! See verse 11.
John 15: 1-11 (NASB)
1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.