I'm convinced the answer to everything comes back to the message Jesus shared with His disciples in John 15. They just finished the last supper and were on their way to the garden where Jesus would soon be arrested. Entering the Kidron Valley, Jesus noticed the vineyard and stopped to teach his message of abiding. He pulled His family close and spoke as though it might be His last chance, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples,” (John 15:1-8, NIV.)
Break this down with me before we go deeper.
God is the gardener
Jesus is the vine
We are the branches
The fruits from our branches are produced through the connection and the concise work of our Father, the caretaker.
Also notice that; Jesus is not just the vine, He is the true vine. Jesus would only need to point this out if false vines were available. He knew His disciples would be tempted to attach themselves to idols. The pull of worldly vines offer supplemental satisfaction and promise false fruit, but only one attachment produces abundance and leaves those eating nourished and satisfied.
Next, Jesus carefully moved His disciples into a better understanding of the process of production. He knew, soon these men He loved so dearly would be walking this journey in a new way. Up until now they were attached to Him in the physical. Everywhere He went, they went. They received the family inheritance because Jesus held the keys and unlocked every door.
Soon Jesus would hand over the keys to the kingdom and His disciples would need to walk connected with Him spiritually instead of just physically to open the doors to their future freedoms and abundance.
Our children and their attachment to us, as parents, allows them to navigate this world without holding the keys. Eventually though, they grow up and begin to walk differently. Their level of responsibility increases and they begin to open their own doors.
In the process of farming, the vinedresser (farmer) makes two trips through his vineyard. First time through he devotes himself to "cutting off" every branch unable to bear fruit. The words “cut off” in Greek actually mean to “lift up.” Up and down the rows the vinedresser walks, carrying with him a bucket of water and sponge. He looks for one thing; fruitless branches.
God cares about the things in our lives. So much so, that leaving them barren and weighed down isn't an option. It was often that the branches not producing fruit had fallen low to the ground and gotten covered in dirt or mud leaving them unexposed to the sun. Their conditions caused fruit production to be rather difficult. They weren’t useless, they were just fruitless. The farmer, in His goodness, would take his sponge, dip it in the water, wash the branch off and then “lift it up” attaching it to a fruitful, healthy vine, hoping exposure to the sun would soon produce the fruit it was created to bare.
The second time through the vineyard, the farmer looked for fruitful branches. Those abounding with grapes and heavy from the weight of production. Upon finding such branches, he would carefully prune them back, saving the produced fruit for his family to eat or sell and creating a space for the branch to rest, conserve energy and prepare for the next season of production. The farmer knew rest and energy conservation provided nourishment to the branch strengthening it for even more abundant fruit in the future.
This entire process of fruit production, pruning and energy restoration is dependent upon one thing:
attachment: (at·tach·ment) an extra part or extension that is or can be attached to something to perform a particular function.
No branch can bear fruit by itself. Branches are simply extensions of something more. Everything produced through the branch comes from a place of connection. The vine is always the producer, the fruit always the product which leaves the branch free to focus only on posture. Postured appropriately fruit would come naturally. Aligned and centered, the branch has no need to worry, no need to fear, no need to doubt. The process takes care of itself.
Branches are just branches when attached inappropriately. They were created to bear abundant fruit but on their own, they become debris littered throughout our yards, recking havoc as we try to mow. Attachment is essential for branches to be anymore than they already are. On the other side of healthy attachment comes abundant fruit. . Relationship done with the Father outside the context of attachment will amount to nothing but frustration and failure.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you”
Jesus chose to live attached to His Father. He walked in step with Holy Spirit, He prayed without ceasing. What He spoke on earth came to be in heaven and what He spoke of heaven came to live on earth. This wasn’t fruit Jesus produced, it was fruit naturally flowing from His attachment with His Father.
The secret is always attachment because everything we need flows from that place. We are the children of God with a Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He prepares tables for us to feast at in the presence of our enemies. He's given us the keys to the kingdom, the authority to walk in power, the invitation to be free. He created in us with the mind of Christ and clothed us with His very own armor.
Attachment brings us everything. It brings comfort and joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, security, a sense of belonging and a freedom for the future. It enables us to forgive those who have hurt us and trust what we don't understand. It calls us to a life of the impossible and empowers us to give away freely all that has been given unto us.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Jesus's listeners that day didn't necessarily have a production problem, in fact they were probably tired and burned out because they were so good at production. Sounds super familiar doesn't it? Production wasn't the issue, alignment was. Their weariness came from spending their energy at the wrong end.
What if, instead of spending your time producing what you've been promised, you spend your time posturing yourself in alignment with the one through whom the promise flows. Jesus is the answer to what's tired inside you. He is also the answer to what's flowing outside you.
When life is hard. Jesus.
When things are good. Jesus
When faith is strong. Jesus
When insecurity looms. Jesus
When rejection stings. Jesus
When fear sings loud. Jesus
When silence threatens defeat. Jesus
When arguments abound. Jesus
When frustration flares. Jesus
When failure comes. Jesus
When breakthrough erupts. Jesus
When enemies embark. Jesus
When friends surround. Jesus
Every thing fruitful is about Him. Everything good comes from Him. Everything holy is because of Him. He is above all things. He is in all things. He is the answer to all things. He calms the storm, controls the winds, directs the waves. He determines the direction. It's all Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Attached to Him we have everything we need.
How is your attachment?