Not only does the Father, the vinedresser, promise our growth in fruitfulness, but also the vine himself, Jesus, continually removes our unbelief and folly through his Word. As he was washing feet earlier in the evening, Jesus spoke these words: “You are clean” (John 13:10). Again, he says, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). We don’t have to struggle to be sure that he is doing his work. He knows how to speak words of cleansing to us, washing us with the water of the Word. Yes, we need to continually expose ourselves to his Word, but the job of cleaning us up so that we can produce fruit is his.
Let your heart settle down into these astounding words: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love” (John 15:9). When I look at my sin, my unproductiveness, that shriveled fruit, it’s hard for me to believe that this kind of love is possible. But drink in what he says: “I’ve loved you with the same intensity of lov--e that my Father has for me.” What a shocking declaration of devotion and affection! Let your soul be nourished and grow strong in it.
Yes, he is calling us to a life of obedience, but it isn’t an obedience that starts with our great efforts. It is an obedience that he has planted and now lovingly tends as we absorb his soul-nourishing life. Think of his love as the rays of the sun, the gentle cooling of the evening breezes, the soil rich in nutrients, the satisfying spring rain, the tender pruning. And as you remember this, remember also that you aren’t alone in this field; you are eternally united to the true vine, and his fruitfulness is yours. Your obedience will grow because He’s your husbandman. Rest here. Endure here. Remain here. Tarry here. Abide.