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 or should 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 of 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 just to hold 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 stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side. She is a #1 Best Selling Christian author and the founder of both Grace & Faith Author Connection and CrossReads--a site where Christian readers and authors can connect.
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