Remaining in Christ and Bearing Fruit - The Warrior's Journey®

Remaining in Christ and Bearing Fruit

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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.  … 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.  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.”  (John 15:1-2, 4-5) 

Producing fruit is serious business for the branches. If the branches are fruitless, the Father breaks them off. If the branches produce fruit, then He prunes them. 

This raises several critical questions. First, how do we “remain in the vine,” i.e. abide in Christ? Second, what does this all-important “fruit” consist of? Third, what’s the difference between breaking off a branch and pruning it? 

First, in the writings of the Apostle John, “abiding” or “remaining” in Christ equates to clinging to Jesus by faith – consciously drawing life, love, and salvation from Him.  When people asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”  Jesus said to them, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One whom He has sent” (John 6:28-29). This is how we are saved and how we live the Christian life. We embrace and cling to Christ by faith. 

Second, the fruit which God wants us to bear is love – love for one another and for God. Look further down the chapter, in verse 8: This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Compare this with John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love is the fruit that proves we are Christ’s disciples. Jesus said that loving God and loving one another are the basis of the entire Law of God (Matthew 22:35-40). 

Third, what’s the difference between breaking off branches and pruning them?  To us they may look the same. For when the vine dresser prunes the branch, he cuts it clear down to the main stock of the vine. To our eyes this “pruning” may appear as judgment or punishment. In fact, many of God’s saints have mistaken God’s pruning and discipline – which is only meant to make them more fruitful – as condemnation or rejection. But God’s pruning is favorable and redemptive treatment reserved for his true children (Hebrews 12:4-11). It will make them more fruitful and Christ-like.   


  • Jesus told us, “No branch can bear fruit by itself” and “Without Me you can do nothing.” By whose power, then, are we to love God and love one another? 
  • How then do we draw life and love from Christ, the true Vine? Could it be by lifting our hearts to God by faith in prayer? 
  • When the harsh pruning comes into your life, keep trusting in His love for you. 

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