The Relationship Between Vine and Branches | John 15:5–6

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Recently, I heard a sister fellowship: “I don’t know why I always live in sin. When something against my will befalls me, I am fully aware that I should put the words of the Lord into practice, being patient with and tolerant toward others, but I am unable to do it. I can’t get on with people around me. Even when my husband and children don’t act according to my requirements, I fail to be tolerant of them. Many a time I lose my temper with them. Neither peace nor happiness lives in my heart, so I often feel painful. I really don’t know how to regain the previous state, and how to recover my relationship with the Lord.” After hearing her words, other brothers and sisters felt the same. Their condition made me think of the words of the Lord Jesus, “I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:5–6). Pondering these two verses, I realized: Through telling the parable of the vine and its branches, the Lord Jesus told us that it is very important to establish a proper relationship with God. The Lord compared us to the branches and compared Himself to the vine. Our relationship with the Lord is like the relationship between vine branches and the vine. Away from the vine, the branches will lose the supply of life and get withered and then die. Only by constantly living before God, reading His words and having a proper relationship with Him, can we be watered and fed by the Holy Spirit and bear the fruit of life. Conversely, if we often stray far from God, cling to the world and live in the enjoyment of the flesh and material benefits, but seldom read God’s words or pray to Him, then we will have no proper relationship with Him, nor do we have the work of the Holy Spirit. It is like that branches will wither if they are away from the vine. Having no work of the Holy Spirit, we may still perform religious ceremonies and keep rules such as attending the meetings, reading and studying the Bible and praying outwardly, but in fact all that we do bears no relation to God. It is because we still live in sin involuntarily and live under Satan’s domain, leading a life of sinning in the day and confessing in the evening, let alone give our hearts to God to have a true communion with Him. Because we don’t have a place for God in our hearts, nor do we have hearts of revering Him, we often speak and act according to our own ideas, naturalness and arrogant disposition, and it is difficult for us to act in harmony with His will. Failing to keep the Lord’s way, we have no joy and peace in our hearts. No matter how much effort we make or no matter how much we suffer, it is useless; no matter how many years we follow the Lord, we can’t gain life. It can be seen that establishing a proper relationship with God is the foundation for entering into life.

So How to Establish a Proper Relationship With God

A passage of words occurred to me, which was shared by a sister, “People believe in God, love God, and satisfy God by touching the Spirit of God with their heart, thereby obtaining His satisfaction; when engaging with God’s words with their heart, they are therefore moved by the Spirit of God. If you wish to achieve a proper spiritual life and establish a proper relationship with God, you must first give your heart to Him, and quiet your heart before Him. Only after you have poured your whole heart into God can you gradually develop a proper spiritual life. … If your heart can be poured into God and keep quiet before Him, then you will have the opportunity and the qualifications to be used by the Holy Spirit, to receive the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and even more, you will have the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to make up for your shortcomings. When you give your heart to God, you can enter more deeply into the positive aspect and be on a higher plane of insight; in the negative aspect, you will have more understanding of your own faults and shortcomings, you will be more eager to seek to satisfy God’s will, and you will not be passive, and will actively enter in. This will mean that you are a correct person.” “If you want to have a proper relationship with God, your heart must turn to God…. When one does not give his heart to God, his spirit becomes obtuse, it becomes numb and unconscious. This kind of person will never understand God’s words and will never have a proper relationship with God; this kind of person will never change their disposition. … When you are able to give your heart to God, you will be able to perceive every subtle moving within your spirit, and you will know every enlightenment and illumination received from God. Hold onto this, and you will gradually enter into the path of being perfected by the Holy Spirit. The quieter your heart can be before God, the more sensitive and delicate your spirit will be, and the more your spirit will be able to perceive the moving of the Holy Spirit, and then your relationship with God will become more and more proper.” (“Establishing a Proper Relationship With God Is Very Important”).

From these words we can see: If we want to establish a proper relationship with God, we must give our hearts to Him and often quiet our hearts before Him. Of our whole beings, it is our hearts that God places great stock in. Just as the Bible says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jhn 4:24). God is a Spirit. Only with our hearts can we connect ourselves to His Spirit and establish a proper relationship with Him. If we want to give our hearts to God, first we should often come before Him with a quiet heart and have a real communion with Him through prayer — to speak from our hearts. Which is to say, we should not say a few words carelessly or make a religious prayer; instead, we shall open our hearts and tell God our real situations and difficulties in entry into life, and give our hearts to God completely and ask Him to lead, rule over and arrange us. Praying and seeking like this is a correct way of practice. This is what it means to establish a proper relationship with God. Instead, if we just say some empty praise or speak some doctrinal words in our prayers, but don’t have a genuine connection with God nor open our hearts to Him to express ourselves, which is similar to the words in the Book of Isaiah: “For as much as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me…” (Isa 29:13). This kind of prayer is without sincerity. In the eyes of God, we are cheating Him. God doesn’t acknowledge this prayer, much less does He listen to these careless prayers. As a result, we will not be approved by Him, let alone establish a proper relationship with Him.

Furthermore, if we want to give our hearts to God, we must let God rule over our hearts in everything. We should quiet our hearts before Him, ponder over His words and seek His will. No matter what we encounter, we can seek God’s will and requirements in His words and act accordingly. Then our living out can earn God’s satisfaction, and we can live under His care and protection and no longer be defeated by transgressions. However, in our real life, we seldom give our hearts to God. Most of time, we rule over ourselves; not seeking the truth when some problems come along, sticking to the outward words of God’s word; distorting and even misinterpreting His words based on our own notions and will. Externally, we seem to act according to His words; actually, we have already gone against His will and requirements. As a result, we have done a lot of things which have nothing to do with the truth and often live in the condition of having no proper relationship with God. Though we follow God from the outside, we don’t give our hearts to Him or live before Him, which makes Him detest us and conceal Himself from us. Finally, we lose the work of the Holy Spirit and live in the dark. If we always fail to establish a proper relationship with God, gradually we will be devoured by Satan. Just as the Lord Jesus says, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (Jhn 15:6).

Therefore, the more we practice giving our hearts to God, the more proper our relationship with Him will become, and the more we will receive enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and then we can follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit deliberately. We can also view things, deal with issues based on the principle of the truth. In this way, we will witness God’s accomplishments in many things and understand His will and demands and develop a true understanding of Him. At the same time, the resolution and wish to love God and satisfy Him will be growing in our hearts. We will also be able to forsake our flesh and practice the truth within the environment God has put us in. During this process, gradually, we shall be freed of our arrogance, self-righteousness and other corrupt dispositions; God will have a place in our hearts; the life of fearing God and obeying God will grow up and finally bear the fruit of life.

How can we establish a close relationship with God? Here is the way.
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