YE THE BRANCHES
I Am The Vine, Ye Are the Branches--John 15:5
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Christ had already said much of
the branch; here He comes to the personal application: "Ye
are the branches of whom I have been speaking. As I am the Vine,
engaged to be and do all the branches need, so I now ask you,
in the new dispensation of the Holy Spirit whom I have been promising
you, to accept the place I give you, and to be My branches on
earth." The relationship He seeks to establish is an intensely
personal one: it all hinges on the two little words I and You.
And it is for us as intensely personal as for the first disciples.
Let us present ourselves before our Lord, until He speak to each
of us in power, and our whole soul feels it: "I am the Vine;
you are the branch."
Dear disciple of Jesus, however
young or feeble, hear the voice. "You are the branch."
You must be nothing less. Let no false humility, no carnal
fear of sacrifice, no unbelieving doubts as to what you feel able
for, keep you back from saying: "I will be a branch, with
all that may mean--a branch, very feeble, but yet as like the
Vine as can be, for I am of the same nature, and receive of the
same spirit. A branch, utterly helpless, and yet just as manifestly
set apart before God and men, as wholly given up to the work of
bearing fruit, as the Vine itself. A branch, nothing in myself,
and yet resting and rejoicing in the faith that knows that He
will provide for all. Yes, by His grace, I will be nothing less
than a branch, and all He means it to be, that through me, He
may bring forth His fruit."
You are the branch.--You
need be nothing more. You need not for one single moment
of the day take upon you the responsibility of the Vine. You need
not leave the place of entire dependence and unbounded confidence.
You need, least of all, to be anxious as to how you are to understand
the mystery, or fulfill its conditions, or work out its blessed
aim. The Vine will give all and work all. The Father, the Husbandman,
watches over your union with and growth in the Vine. You need
be nothing more than a branch. Only a branch! Let that be your
watchword; it will lead in the path of continual surrender to
Christ's working, of true obedience to His every command, of joyful
expectancy of all His grace.
Is there anyone who now asks: "How
can I learn to say this aright, `Only be a branch!' and to live
it out?" Dear soul, the character of a branch, its strength,
and the fruit it bears, depend entirely upon the Vine. And your
life as branch depends entirely upon your apprehension of what
our Lord Jesus is. Therefore never separate the two words: "I
the Vine--you the branch." Your life and strength and fruit
depend upon what your Lord Jesus is! Therefore worship and trust
Him; let Him be your one desire and the one occupation of your
heart. And when you feel that you do not and cannot know Him aright,
then just remember it is part of His responsibility as Vine to
make Himself known to you. He does this not in thoughts and conceptions--no--but
in a hidden growth within the life that is humbly and restfully
and entirely given up to wait on Him. The Vine reveals itself
within the branch; thence comes the growth and fruit, Christ dwells
and works within His branch; only be a branch, waiting on Him
to do all; He will be to thee the true Vine. The Father Himself,
the divine Husbandman, is able to make thee a branch worthy of
the heavenly Vine. Thou shalt not be disappointed.
Ye are the branches. This
word, too Lord! O speak it in power unto my soul. Let not the
branch of the earthly vine put me to shame, but as it only lives
to bear the fruit of the vine, may my life on earth have no wish
or aim, but to let Thee bring forth fruit through me.