Throughout scripture, we can see the implication of spiritual health through the imagery of plants and their fruit. One of the most compelling is the message of Jesus in John 15 of the vine and the branches. It reveals the one and only source of our strength and power to produce the fruit God has raised us from the dead to produce.
15 “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 does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and 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 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I 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, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”(John 15:1-11 ESV)
The Picture of Health
A healthy plant cannot help but produce its appointed fruit. If a plant is not creating fruit, there is some sort of disease or illness in the tree. If a branch is diseased, it much be removed in order to keep the disease from spreading and taking necessary energy out of the health portion of the tree. Once that branch is removed, its fate is sealed. It will never be good for anything again it is removed from the source it needs to survive.
The Source of Health
This is a grace-filled message from Christ. If we are in him, we have the source of health we need to produce the fruit he has redeemed us to produce. Jesus is the source of the growth God has designed for you.
But Jesus says that in order for us to be spiritually healthy and glorify the father, we must “abide” in him. What does that mean?
This is an enormous question to ask. Primarily because there are so many implications to abiding in Jesus. But in order to build an understanding, we need a working definition of abiding.
John Piper stated it well, but it remains an enormous statement.
“The essential meaning of our active abiding is receiving and trusting all that God is for us in Christ.”
To summarize VERY briefly, receiving and trusting all that God is for us in Christ, is to believe in the person and teaching of Jesus. To abide in him is to actively believe and trust that he is the Son of God, whose sacrifice and resurrection are sufficient to justify us before God and provide for our deepest needs.
An unhealthy spirit is one whose trust is placed in the merits of self rather than the person and merit of Jesus. This, of course, does not glorify the father, and leaves a child of God in the midst of an identity dilemma. Ultimately they find themselves in an ineffective condition, acting perpendicularly to the description of the joy-filled born again child of God.
The Result of Health
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
These two verses give us a wonderful description of what our life reveals should we abide in Jesus. If the word of God dwells in us, we will ask God for the things that His will is in agreement with. This glorifies the father, we will receive it, and we will bear much fruit. There is no greater thing for our lives to produce than God-glorifying, God-provided fruit of God’s spirit.
Today, pray that God would begin to reveal to you the sickness your spirit may have. Ask him to heal it, that you might produce the fruit he has called you to produce.
Moment of Worship
Take a moment to worship Jesus today. Abide in him.