John 15 illustrates that we can enjoy many life-giving benefits as long as we understand that Jesus is the centre of our life. He is vine and we are the branches. Why do we need Him in our life and how can we benefit from this relationship?
Living in Him and building our whole life in and around Him is critical, especially in the times we are living in now. We need God, our families, and our countries need God. So how do we make Jesus the centre of our life? I took a lesson from this unique bird. Read on to understand why.
My son shared a video from TKSST (The kids Should See This) website a few days ago. I was fascinated and blown away by this adorable little songbird called the Ortotomus sutorius, also known as the common tailorbird. Oh, there is nothing ordinary about this bird, for this petite chick has skill.
This tropical Asian bird, with her needle-like beck, stitches leaves together to create a cuplike nest for her eggs. Ronit Vasani of India filmed the bird. The video shows how the tailorbird stitches leaves together by using plant fibre or spider webs as thread. Yes, you read correctly – this bird can sew. (Click link to watch the video https://youtu.be/Sy495tS2C9U )
At first, she has to scout around for foliage that will best suit the design she has in mind. The leaves need to be of the correct size and durability. Like an actual seamstress, she measures herself against the leaf by wrapping herself around it. It has to be large enough and wide enough to cover herself and the arrival of her four new babies. The leaves have to be fresh and green. Dead leaves will not do. But the most critical part of this custom-built nursery nest is that the leaves she selects must be attached to the tree branch throughout the nestling. She does not gather fallen or dead leaves. The sustainability and durability of her nursery for the next month will determine the safety of her babies.
Once she has selected the right look and feel of her raw materials, production begins. Using her stitching skills which she genetically inherited, she begins to architect her way into constructing her dream home. With many talents, she punctures holes into the leaves using her beak and then threads through the plant fibre or spider webs as the thread to hold it together. With her pointy precision-like beak, she creates flat stitches and carefully knots each end securely. At one point, as I watched her, I was sure that she had just executed a perfectly formed crossed-stitch. She meticulously stitches away for the first four days, lining her nest with soft leaves and feathers, creating a comfy crib for her newborns. Almost 200 stitches later, her nest is finally ready.
She builds within the tree, camouflaged between the branches, and her home is snuggly hidden, becoming part of the tree. She is one brilliant mother who knows that by using the leaves while they are still attached to the branches, the tree will sustain her nest, and her nest will be evergreen throughout the incubation and feeding stages of her delicate young babies.
Watching this bird tailor-make her home sparked a flurry of revelation in my heart. She not only reminded me of the woman in Proverbs 31, but she also reminded me of how much we take for granted being part of the vine of Christ. We forget the importance of building our lives in and around God, making Jesus the centre of our lives.
Birds pick up all kinds of leaves to build their nest on trees, but here’s a little creature of God who says, Why should I separate myself from this tree? I need its life to grow and sustain my home.
John 15 illustrates that we can enjoy many life-giving benefits as long as we understand that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. John 15 could not have explained this revelation more clearly. Let us unpack this for a while.
4 Simple ways to begin
1. God is the gardener of your life
John 15: 1-4 “I 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 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, as I also 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.”
Let Jesus be the gardener to your heart. As He tends to you, He will remove everything that need not be in your life. Let God remove the unfruitful bits of your life. Let Him purify, purge and prune you so you can live in His fullness. Christ is your raw material. All you need, you can find in Him. (Matthew 6:33-34)
Measure up yourself and get your fit against His standards and not against what man desires. (Romans 12:2)
2. Don’t become firewood
Your life will be more fruitful when you remain attached to God. His word says that when you stay in God, you will not wither away and become firewood.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are 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 done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:5-8
Away from Him, your nest will dry up. Find Him and hold on to Him.
3. He will fill your life and your home with joy.
Jesus is the vine and your umbilical cord to nourishment and life.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. “John 15:9-11
You remain in love, and your joy will be complete. Be still and know that He is God.
4. Bear fruits that will last
12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:12-17
Galatians 5:22-23 “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.”
Let us build our lives with love, joy, and goodness that can last a lifetime. In this stressful life, it’s so difficult to hold on to our fruits, but if we remind ourselves that we are part of God and His blood and life flow through us, our character is refined by Him each day.