I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. –John 15: 1-2
Every so often a misinterpretation corrected sends shock waves through my life. Thus it was with this Bible verse. I had always defined “bear” as meaning to produce. In other words, “Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit, He takes away…” Then I began reading about how God doesn’t expect us to do things for Him, no, He wants to do things through us if we allow Christ and the Holy Spirit to take over our lives to such a degree that it is them doing the doing and not us.
Okay, but there was still this verse. Clearly it says if I am in Him, I will produce fruit. Right? Well, maybe.
I give you this new insight to ponder, not so that you can accept it outright, but so that you can try it on in your life and see if it fits.
There is a second definition of “bear” I had never considered. It is actually the first definition of the word. Bear means to carry or to hold.
Does that make any difference in how you read this verse? “Every branch in Me that does not hold fruit, He takes away…” To me, holding is much different than producing. Holding is passive. Someone else has done all the hard work to produce it, all I have to do is be strong enough in Christ to hold the fruit He’s producing in my life!
You know, looking back, I wonder how much fruit I didn’t “hold” because I was so busy trying to “produce” fruit on my own. I wasn’t focused on what God was doing in my life, I was focused on what I was doing for Him. Trust me on this, the difference between the two in theory and in practice are huge!
The funny thing is, since I’ve stopped trying to produce fruit for Him, fruit in abundance has come into my life. In my books, in my kids, in my marriage, in our finances. Things I used to work so hard to accomplish (which never seemed to work out) are suddenly heaped upon me in blessing after blessing. I am convinced it’s because I stopped trying to produce and started being content to hold what He’s producing in and through me that this change has come about.
So, as I said before, consider this simple yet profound modification in the way you define “bear.” It may well change your entire life!
Copyright Staci Stallings 2006
Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only…
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9 responses to “Welcome Author Staci Stallings”
Thank you for stopping by today. Your post is very timely for me. I love how God sends us little messages just as we need them. Lately my life has been beyond chaotic and it’s been difficult to bear fruit in all areas. So much so that I wonder if those who know me think I’m slipping from the vine, which isn’t the case at all. I’m realizing that I can’t be everywhere at once, bearing fruit in all places. I thought that I needed to focus on one particular area in my life to bear fruit, but I’ve come up feeling like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. It’s been frustrating and discouraging. God has kept telling me to just sit back and take His peace. I wasn’t getting it. I felt the need to bear. Reading your post has given me new insight at this meaning. Maybe I just need to ‘hold’ for a while.
What a timely message. Holding is definately easier than producing. Especially when you wonder if your are doing God’s will, or your own. Thanks Staci for some clarity.
Tammy, I used to consistently (obsessively) wonder if I was doing God’s will. Recently, I made a decision to do something. I wasn’t sure it was God’s will, to be honest, I was pretty sure God didn’t want me to do it, but out of fear I went ahead and did it. I can say that following my own will has made it much more difficult, but at the same time I’m seeing God’s blessings through it all. What I am learning is to listen to God’s voice instead of my own.
Great insight into that verse. Something to ponder.
Hi, Virginia, Staci’s post is definitely something to ponder. I’ve been doing that ever since I read it.
For a LONG time in my life (about 35 of my 42 years), I worked REALLY hard to produce FOR God. And like, Christina, I felt like I banged my head on that brick wall A LOT! Then when I was 35, God finally got my attention in that I had everything I had worked so hard to do and be, and I was still miserable. I didn’t understand that at all, but step-by-step He graciously showed me that ME producing FOR Him wasn’t what He had in mind at all. He explained that all I was doing was burning myself out, and frustrated and depressed was not in His plan for me. That was about the time He brought this verse and this new meaning into my life. Since then, I have gone through trials greater than I could ever have imagined at that point, but peace has been my constant companion through it all because I know… it’s not about ME. I don’t have to do anything more than walk through the doors He opens. When a door shuts, I know it’s either not right or not the right time, and He will show me when and if it’s time to try again. I really do rest in Him now, and it’s so much better! In fact, I’ve had to get really strong to HOLD all the blessings He’s given me… they number as the stars! 🙂
Staci, you’re an inspiration. Just from reading your posts I’m feeling God’s peace.
God does the inspiring. All I do is type what He tells me! 🙂 Have a blessed day!
I really enjoy the new insights or ways to view scripture that I occasionally stumble across. Thanks for sharing. It certainly is something to ponder!