John 15:1-2 I am the
true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman.
2 Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
The picture presented is the vine with its branches. The branches represent the members of the Body of Christ and the vine is the Lord Jesus. Presenting Him as a vine gives emphasis to the fact that He is the channel through which divine life flows to the Body of Christ. The fruitfulness of the branches is the result of their acceptability to the flow of life through the vine. It is not the flow of life alone that determines the fruitfulness of the branches, for the Lord says, Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away (verse 2). The Lord makes the divine life available to every member of His Body. But each member has the responsibility of appropriating His life and assimilating it into his spirit.
Some Christians have never learned how to appropriate and assimilate the life and Spirit of the Lord. Even though it is flowing to them they donít know how to receive it into their spirit. They study the Bible, pray, worship, and do all the things they have been told to do. Yet they realize that spiritual growth is not taking place as it should; they are not experiencing the inner change. The fruitfulness is not there.
If we do not learn how to appropriate the divine life with our spirit, we could become a fruitless branch that is taken away. I remember how in my first church that I was told to pray, worship, and study the Bible, but I was not taught how to do it. I knew, for example, that I was suppose to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). But because I was a Christian and had received the Holy Spirit, I assumed that I was worshiping the Lord in spirit and in truth. However, years later when the Lord taught me how to worship Him with and from my spirit I realized that my worship before was really quite soulish. I did not know how to worship from the inner man.
We must be sincere in our worship, but sincerity alone is not enough. We must know Him and we must touch Him with our spirit when we worship. Jesus, speaking of the Pharisees, said, This people draw nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. Matthew 15:8. Their heart was far from the Lord; there was a separation between them and the Lord. The separation between man and God is not natural distance. He is not x-miles up in the sky somewhere. It is a matter of planes or levels of spirit. So you donít have to rise up from the earth to meet Him. You merely have to lift your spirit, letting it ascend to a higher spirit level. It is with your spirit that you must draw nigh to the Lord. When you touch Him on a higher level than you are presently on, Then change takes place. Draw nigh to Him in your worship and He will draw nigh to you (James 4:8). That is spiritual growth. Worshiping in spirit and in truth makes you pliable so that God can create you into what He wants you to be. Every time you touch Him in your worship there is some transference of Him to your spirit. In this way you appropriate His life.
If you are going to grow spiritually you must learn how to appropriate and assimilate the life of the Lord. The branches in the vine that did not bear fruit had the same life flowing to them that the fruit-bearing branches had, but they didnít appropriate and assimilate His life. Consequently, they didnít bear fruit and they were taken away. People being taught how to appropriate the life of the Lord in their spirit is the one thing most lacking in churches today.
Copyright © 1998 by Henry DuBose