Planted in the Presence


John 15:1-7
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.


One sunny morning, a farmer went out to check on his tomato plants. He found ripe tomatoes growing on some of the limbs, but some of the limbs had turned yellow. Other limbs had already wilted and fallen to the ground. The farmer cut off the yellow limbs because they could not bear fruit. He pruned the healthy limbs and those that had tomatoes on them so the tomatoes would continue to ripen and so that other tomatoes would grow on the fruit baring limbs. He picked up the limbs he had cut off and those already on the ground and tossed them into a fire he had made.

We are like the tomato plants and the farmer is like our Father in Heaven. God’s plan for us is to produce fruit. Not fruit like a tomato, but offspring of other Christians. By reading the Word and doing what it says, we will produce fruit. There are things going on in our lives that keep us from producing fruit. These are our many sins we commit each day. These are things like lying, judging, pride, and others. They keep us from living out God’s Word and His plan for our lives. We sometimes become like the yellow limbs on the farmer’s tomato plants that are dying and cannot produce any fruit at all.

God wants us to keep His Word with us wherever we go and to live by it. By doing so, we will have good fruit-bearing limbs like the ones on the farmer’s tomato plants. He prunes us so that we can bear more fruit and can grow to be more like He wants us to be. The more we lean into Him and the more we do that He wants us to, the more fruit-bearing we will be.

God says, “If you abide in me…, or “If you remain in me...” What does this mean? How about, “If you dwell in me…” To dwell is to live in something. God wants us to dwell in Him and to live by His Word. When we dwell with God, we are conscious of His presence in our lives. This consciousness can be a feeling of closeness or contentment with God, but it can also be an awareness of God’s greatness, power, wisdom and love. We feel most at home in God’s presence, but we do not always dwell there. By dwelling with God, He lives in us! Other people will see God through Him living in us, and we will be able to share God with others without even knowing it.

For most of us, when we were children, our parents loved us more than we realized it, especially in our teenage years. Sometimes it takes us having children, or pets, of our own to realize how much our parents loved us. We see how much we love our own children and pets, and it helps us to realize how much our parents loved us. In the same way, Jesus loves us because His Father first loved Him. He wants us to dwell (live) in His love. We can dwell in His love by dwelling in Him. Jesus’s command for us is to love others just as He loves us. Jesus loves us so much that He laid down his own life for us. He wants us to love others in a way that we would give up our lives for them. That is a strong love, almost too hard to understand, but this is the way we are to love others.

Some of us might feel like servants at work when our unfriendly boss asks us to do something for them. We do not always know why they are asking us to do something, but we do it anyways because our boss tells us to do it. We are made to feel like servants. In some cases, we are friends with our boss. They tell us to do something, but they tell us why they are telling us to do it. They consider us a friend and they want us to know everything about a what is going on. In the same way, Jesus is our friend. We are not servants to Him. We are friends with Him. He has revealed everything to us about the Kingdom of God and He tells us how to live. He told us the whole story of why and how he wants us to live a certain way.

When the farmer first purchased the tomato plants, he chose the plants that he wanted. The plants did not choose the farmer and jump into his buggy. He picked them out one by one. Jesus chose us just as He did His disciples. He appointed us to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. When we bear fruit, God will give us whatever we ask for in Jesus’s name.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

Action Step

Spend time with God daily and study His Word. Listen to what He is telling you through the scripture. Pray and ask God to prune you to be more like He wants you to be. Ask Him to remove the yellow limbs from your life. Ask Him to show you ways to bear good fruit.


Father, I know I’m a sinner and I do things every day that I am not proud of. Please prune me to get rid of my bad limbs so that I can bear more fruit. Help me to find ways to dwell in You so that You are present in everything that I do. Show me ways to love others like You love me. Help others to see You through me. Amen
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