I was struck by something in John 15 yesterday that I hadn’t really thought about before. It’s the passage of Scripture where Jesus tells his disciples that he is the vine and they are the branches. To bear fruit they must stay connected to him, because apart from the vine the branches can do nothing. They die and wither and produce no fruit.
In the midst of that He tells them that God is glorified when they bear much fruit. A few verses later he says,
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the father in my name, he may give it to you.”
Hey guys, don’t forget: this was our big idea, not yours.
I think this was an important reminder for them, given the fact that Jesus would be leaving them soon. He chose them – they didn’t choose him. The responsibility to produce is shifted off their shoulders and onto his.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the people Jesus chose to be his disciples. We don’t know much about some of them, but we do know there were a few fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot and a doubter (poor Thomas). It’s a mix and match bunch of people – none of which one would expect to start a religious movement that would change the world.
The fishermen were not seen as educated people, the tax collector was hated by the Jewish people because he was a sellout to Rome, who was stealing money from them. Far from the peaceful way of Christ, the zealot was looking to overthrow Rome in a violent uprising.
Until they were chosen by Jesus.
Sometimes I struggle with who I am. Really, my issue is with how I express and present myself. I feel like such a mix and match mess of a person – unpredictable, at best, and embarrassing, at worst.
One minute I’m making jokes and the next I’m trying to dive deep into who God is and what He is saying to us. So, which is it? Am I going to be a comedian or will I be a person to be taken seriously?
I can’t tell you how often I ask myself, “What is wrong with you?”
The thing I was struck by in John 15 yesterday, though, is that God chooses us, as we are, to go and bear fruit. He knows my pendulum swings, and yet, he can and will use me to bear fruit so long as I stay connected to him.
Whatever those things are that you don’t like about yourself, whatever mistakes you’ve made, whatever ideology you hold to, he takes you as is. He refines, he prunes, he changes us, but he isn’t put off by us.
He only needs you to trust Him. The vine feeds and energizes the branches, not the reverse.
Those things that make no sense in your own mind don’t baffle him. The answer to “What is wrong with me?” might be,
He chose you to go and bear fruit. The work is his for you to simply cooperate with. He planned good works for you to do, in advance, that you might walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
The road before you is paved.
Put on your walking shoes and get going.