The truth that you and I could bring God glory absolutely fascinates, and humbles me! You and I have the capacity to live in such a way that God, the perfect, beautiful, glorious creator of you and I, will be glorified.
Jesus said in John 15:8:
This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourelves to be my disciples.
What does this even mean!? What, exactly, is Glory?
W.E. Vines says:
“…the Glory of God is the revelation and manifestation of all that He has and is…”
In other words, God’s nature and character – His goodness, faithfulness, love, humility, and so on – being uncovered, revealed and seen, demonstrated clearly to those around us – This is God’s glory! God’s glory is not just who or what He is: there is a vital component that all that He has and is must be revealed (uncovered and seen) and manifested (made clear and obvious so it can be understood).
How is glory made manifest? W.E. Vines also states that,
…the Glory is made manifest through Christ, for the Father
And we are in Christ! In Christ, we manifest the Glory of God, for the Father!
We each carry a part of God into this world. There is only one you. There will never be another like you, and you have a unique and important piece of God’s heart, nature, and life to bring to those around you! And when you do that – all that God is and has is shown clearly to the world! And all you really had to do was be the you He created.
God does not need us to defend His reputation to the world. He desires that we portray His beauty to it.
God is not looking for us to be little “christian-bots” defending, arguing and ‘protecting’ Him from the lies and slanders that the enemy, satan, is telling the people we love. Our job is to portray the beautiful part He put inside of you and me. True life, real love, hope, joy, peace…
There is one more important piece that I want to plug in before finishing for today; verses 1-7 in John 15 read:
1 “Am am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch in me that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will 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. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Fathers’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
OK – there is a LOT of great stuff in these verses for us. But I will just list a couple awesome ideas:
1. Pruning is a good thing. God does not use punishment, sickness, or disaster to ‘prune’ – He uses His Word, which is a ‘sharp, two-edged sword’ that has the power to shape, strengthen and encourage us. The process of pruning strips away the things in our lives that would hinder us from being more fruitful.
2. More fruit – this word in the Greek means more in quality as well as quantity. The outflow of our lives will not just be more in quantity, but in quality and substance! Awesome!
3. REMAIN! This is the key to bearing fruit that brings God glory! REMAIN connected to Jesus. In the Amplified translation v. 4 reads, “Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.]… Make your home, camp out, refuse to leave, be jealous for the connection to Jesus and do anything to make sure you REMAIN with Him!
4. Apart from Him, YOU CAN DO NOTHING. Sure, you could probably brush your teeth apart from Jesus. Or maybe even comb your hair (though some of us need divine intervention even to do that!). But the beautiful, eternal impact of the fruit of your life can only come through remaining with Jesus! Fruit feeds and satisfies you, and it nourishes and strengthens those who receive the fruit from your life. THAT can only happen through intimacy with Christ.
5. The branches that are being ‘cut off’ aren’t being punished, they are already dead, because they have disconnected themselves from the life of the vine.* Did you know? – Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live! Jesus made life available to anyone who would make Him Lord, through this intimate connection.
That’s a lot for one post. I may pick up on these thoughts more next week.
Thanks for reading! Love you,
*Totally stole this thought from my pastor from a recent Bible study.