The Prayer of Jabez

1 Chronicles 4:9-10
“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.’ So God granted him what he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). Who was Jabez? There is no mention of him anywhere else in the scriptures. From the context, it does appear that he was of the tribe of Judah, and some think that he was a son of Koz (cf. v. 8). There are other theories as to who and what he was, but our purpose here is simply to see what lessons we can learn fromthis passage of scripture.

First, consider the attitude of Jabez. He was honorable. Why he was more honorable than his brothers we are not told, but it may have to do with the nature of his prayer. There are two characteristics that are needed for one to be honorable in prayer. One of them is being earnest, which means intense, zealous, sincere, and determined. We are told that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). The second of these characteristics is humility. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter5:6-7). The earnest, fervent prayer that is prayed in true humility ishonorable before God.

Another aspect of the attitude of Jabez is that he directed his prayer to God. Because we are to worship the Lord our God and serve Him alone, Jesus taught us to address our prayers, saying, “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 4:10, 6:9). To direct such a prayer to God demonstrates that one is trusting in and thus dependent on Him for everything that is needed. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Second, consider the character of Jabez’s petition. He requested a personal blessing. To ask God’s blessing is to ask Him to bestow divine favor. There is nothing wrong with requesting God to bless us specifically. The Psalmist did. He prayed, “Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever” (Psalm 28:9). Jabez also asked God to enlarge his borders. This seems to relate to material prosperity. Thus, it is certainly scriptural for us to pray that God will bless us materially (note Matthew 6:11). However, the Bible offers no “quid pro quo” promise that if we do certain specified things for God then He will materially prosper us a certain specified amount, as some who hold the “Abundant Life–Health and Wealth” gospel teach. Rather, the Lord has simply said that if we serve Him faithfully, He will provide for us (Matthew 6:33).

Then Jabez beseeched that God’s hand would be with Him, no doubt to provide protection and guidance. Should we not pray with the Psalmist, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:5)? Finally, Jabez expressed a petition that God would keep Him from evil. Jesus also indicated that His disciples should pray for God’s preservation and deliverance, as He taught them to say, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). Of course, God’s protection, guidance, preservation, and deliverance are all provided for us through the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The reason why Jabez thus prayed was so that He might not cause pain. One commentator expressed it this way: “Let me not experience the grief which my name implies, and which my sins would well produce.” Another phrased it, “Grant that the grief implied in my name may not come upon me!” And likewise, it should be our prayer, “I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!” (Psalm 119:31). Finally, consider the response of God, who granted Him what he requested. The Lord has promised us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocksit will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). God has said that He will hear and respond to the prayers of His people. Oh, He may not always give us what we ask for, when we ask for it, in exactly the way that we asked. But He is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Therefore, we can trust Him to answer our prayers by providing what He knows best that we need in harmony with His will, just as He did with the prayer of Jabez.

By Wayne S. Walker
From Expository Files 8.11; November 2001

 

It Is Well with My Soul

 

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

         when sorrows like sea billows roll;

         whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,

         It is well, it is well with my soul.

 

         Refrain:

         It is well with my soul,

         it is well, it is well with my soul.

 

  1. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

         let this blest assurance control,

         that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

         and hath shed his own blood for my soul.

         (Refrain)

 

  1. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

         My sin, not in part but the whole,

         is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

         praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

         (Refrain)

 

  1. And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

         the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

         the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

         even so, it is well with my soul.

         (Refrain)

 

YE THE BRANCHES

I Am The Vine, Ye Are the Branches–John 15:5
Christ had already said much of the branch; here He comes to the personal
application: “Ye are the branches of whom I have been speaking. As I am the
Vine, engaged to be and do all the branches need, so I now ask you, in the new
dispensation of the Holy Spirit whom I have been promising you, to accept the
place I give you, and to be My branches on earth.” The relationship He seeks to
establish is an intensely personal one: it all hinges on the two little words I and
You. And it is for us as intensely personal as for the first disciples. Let us present
ourselves before our Lord, until He speak to each of us in power, and our whole
soul feels it: “I am the Vine; you are the branch.”
Dear disciple of Jesus, however young or feeble, hear the voice. “You are the
branch.” You must be nothing less. Let no false humility, no carnal fear of
sacrifice, no unbelieving doubts as to what you feel able for, keep you back from
saying: “I will be a branch, with all that may mean–a branch, very feeble, but yet
as like the Vine as can be, for I am of the same nature, and receive of the same
spirit. A branch, utterly helpless, and yet just as manifestly set apart before God
and men, as wholly given up to the work of bearing fruit, as the Vine itself. A
branch, nothing in myself, and yet resting and rejoicing in the faith that knows
that He will provide for all. Yes, by His grace, I will be nothing less than a branch,
and all He means it to be, that through me, He may bring forth His fruit.”
You are the branch.–You need be nothing more. You need not for one single
moment of the day take upon you the responsibility of the Vine. You need not
leave the place of entire dependence and unbounded confidence. You need,
least of all, to be anxious as to how you are to understand the mystery, or fulfill
its conditions, or work out its blessed aim. The Vine will give all and work all. The
Father, the Husbandman, watches over your union with and growth in the Vine.
You need be nothing more than a branch. Only a branch! Let that be your
watchword; it will lead in the path of continual surrender to Christ’s working, of
true obedience to His every command, of joyful expectancy of all His grace.
Is there anyone who now asks: “How can I learn to say this aright, `Only be a
branch!’ and to live it out?” Dear soul, the character of a branch, its strength, and
the fruit it bears, depend entirely upon the Vine. And your life as branch depends
entirely upon your apprehension of what our Lord Jesus is. Therefore never
separate the two words: “I the Vine–you the branch.” Your life and strength and
fruit depend upon what your Lord Jesus is! Therefore worship and trust Him; let
Him be your one desire and the one occupation of your heart. And when you feel
that you do not and cannot know Him aright, then just remember it is part of His
responsibility as Vine to make Himself known to you. He does this not in thoughts
and conceptions–no–but in a hidden growth within the life that is humbly and
restfully and entirely given up to wait on Him. The Vine reveals itself within the
branch; thence comes the growth and fruit, Christ dwells and works within His
branch; only be a branch, waiting on Him to do all; He will be to thee the true
Vine. The Father Himself, the divine Husbandman, is able to make thee a branch
worthy of the heavenly Vine. Thou shalt not be disappointed.
Ye are the branches. This word, too Lord! O speak it in power unto my soul. Let
not the branch of the earthly vine put me to shame, but as it only lives to bear the
fruit of the vine, may my life on earth have no wish or aim, but to let Thee bring
forth fruit through me.

THE VINE

I am The Vine, Ye Are The Branches –John 15:5
In the previous verse Christ had just said: “Abide in me.” He had then announced
the great unalterable law of all branch-life, on earth or in Heaven: “not of itself”;
“except it abide.” In the opening words of the parable He had already spoken: “I
am the vine.” He now repeats the words. He would have us understand–note
well the lesson, simple as it appears, it is the key of the abiding life–that the only
way to obey the command, “Abide in me,” is to have eye and heart fixed upon
Himself. “Abide in me…I am the true vine.” Yea, study this holy mystery until you
see Christ as the true Vine, bearing, strengthening, supplying, inspiring all His
branches, being and doing in each branch all it needs, and the abiding will come
of itself. Yes, gaze upon Him as the true Vine, until you feel what a heavenly
Mystery it is, and are compelled to ask the Father to reveal it to you by His Holy
Spirit. He to whom God reveals the glory of the true Vine, he who sees what
Jesus is and waits to do every moment, he cannot but abide. The vision of Christ
is an irresistible attraction; it draws and holds us like a magnet. Listen ever to the
living Christ still speaking to you, and waiting to show you the meaning and
power of His Word: “I am the vine.”
How much weary labor there has been in striving to understand what abiding is,
how much fruitless effort in trying to attain it! Why was this? Because the
attention was turned to the abiding as a work we have to do, instead of the living
Christ, in whom we were to be kept abiding, who Himself was to hold and keep
us. we thought of abiding as a continual strain and effort–we forget that it means
rest from effort to one who has found the place of his abode. Do notice how
Christ said, “Abide in Me; I am the Vine that brings forth, and holds, and
strengthens, and makes fruitful the branches. Abide in Me, rest in Me, and let Me
do My work. I am the true Vine, all I am, and speak, and do is divine truth, giving
the actual reality of what is said. I am the Vine, only consent and yield thy all to
Me, I will do all in thee.”
And so it sometimes comes that souls who have never been specially occupied
with the thought of abiding, are abiding all the time, because they are occupied
with Christ. Not that the word abide is not needful; Christ used it so often,
because it is the very key to the Christian life. But He would have us understand
it in its true sense–“Come out of every other place, and every other trust and
occupation, come out of self with its reasonings and efforts, come and rest in
what I shall do. Live out of thyself; abide in Me. Know that thou art in Me; thou
needest no more; remain there in Me.”
“I am the Vine.” Christ did not keep this mystery hidden from His disciples. He
revealed it, first in words here, then in power when the Holy Spirit came down.
He will reveal it to us too, first in the thoughts and confessions and desires these
words awaken, then in power by the Spirit. Do let us wait on Him to show us all
the heavenly meaning of the mystery. Let each day, in our quiet time, in the inner
chamber with Him and His Word, our chief thought and aim be to get the heart
fixed on Him, in the assurance: all that a vine ever can do for its branches, my
Lord Jesus will do, is doing, for me. Give Him time, give Him your ear, that He
may whisper and explain the divine secret: “I am the vine.”
Above all, remember, Christ is the Vine of God’s planting, and you are a branch
of God’s grafting. Ever stand before God, in Christ; ever wait for all grace from
God, in Christ; ever yield yourself to bear the more fruit the Husbandman asks, in
Christ. And pray much for the revelation of the mystery that all the love and
power of God that rested on Christ is working in you too. “I am God’s Vine,”
Jesus says; “all I am I have from Him; all I am is for you; God will work it in you.”
I am the Vine. Blessed Lord, speak Thou that word into my soul. Then shall I
know that all Thy fullness is for me. And that I can count upon Thee to stream it
into me, and that my abiding is so easy and so sure when I forget and lose
myself in the adoring faith that the Vine holds the branch and supplies its every
need.

EXCEPT YE ABIDE

As the Branch Cannot Bear Fruit of Itself, Except It Abide In the Vine; No More
Can Ye, Except Ye Abide in Me–John 15:4
We know the meaning of the word except. It expresses some indispensable
condition, some inevitable law. “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it
abide in the vine. No more can ye, except ye abide in me.” There is but one way
for the branch to bear fruit, there is no other possibility, it must abide in unbroken
communion with the vine. Not of itself, but only of the vine, does the fruit come.
Christ had already said: “Abide in me”; in nature the branch teaches us the
lesson so clearly; it is such a wonderful privilege to be called and allowed to
abide in the heavenly Vine; one might have thought it needless to add these
words of warning. But no–Christ knows so well what a renunciation of self is
implied in this: “Abide in me”; how strong and universal the tendency would be to
seek to bear fruit by our own efforts; how difficult it would be to get us to believe
that actual, continuous abiding in Him is an absolute necessity! He insists upon
the truth: Not of itself can the branch bear fruit; except it abide, it cannot bear
fruit. “No more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
But must this be taken literally? Must I, as exclusively, and manifestly, and
unceasingly, and absolutely, as the branch abides in the vine, be equally given
up to find my whole life in Christ alone? I must indeed. The except ye abide is as
universal as the except it abide. The no more can ye admits of no exception or
modification. If I am to be a true branch, if I am to bear fruit, if I am to be what
Christ as Vine wants me to be, my whole existence must be as exclusively
devoted to abiding in Him, as that of the natural branch is to abiding in its vine.
Let me learn the lesson. Abiding is to be an act of the will and the whole heart.
Just as there are degrees in seeking and serving God, “not with a perfect heart,”
or “with the whole heart,” so there may be degrees in abiding. In regeneration the
divine life enters us, but does not all at once master and fill our whole being. This
comes as matter of command and obedience. There is unspeakable danger of
our not giving ourselves with our whole heart to abide. There is unspeakable
danger of our giving ourselves to work for God, and to bear fruit, with but little of
the true abiding, the wholehearted losing of ourselves in Christ and His life.
There is unspeakable danger of much work with but little fruit, for lack of this one
thing needful. We must allow the words, “not of itself,” “except it abide,” to do
their work of searching and exposing, of pruning and cleansing, all that there is of
self-will and self-confidence in our life; this will deliver us from this great evil, and
so prepare us for His teaching, giving the full meaning of the word in us: “Abide in
me, and I in you.”
Our blessed Lord desires to call us away from ourselves and our own strength, to
Himself and His strength. Let us accept the warning, and turn with great fear and
self-distrust to Him to do His work. “Our life is hid with Christ in God!” That life is
a heavenly mystery, hid from the wise even among Christians, and revealed unto
babes. The childlike spirit learns that life is given from Heaven every day and
every moment to the soul that accepts the teaching: “not of itself,” “except it
abide,” and seeks its all in the Vine. Abiding in the Vine then comes to be nothing
more nor less than the restful surrender of the soul to let Christ have all and work
all, as completely as in nature the branch knows and seeks nothing but the vine.
Abide in Me. I have heard, my Lord, that with every command, Thou also givest
the power to obey. With Thy “rise and walk,” the lame man leaped, I accept Thy
word, “Abide in me,” as a word of power, that gives power, and even now I say,
Yea, Lord, I will, I do abide in Thee

ABIDE

Abide in Me, and I in You–John 15:4
When a new graft is placed in a vine and it abides there, there is a twofold
process that takes place. The first is in the wood. The graft shoots its little roots
and fibers down into the stem, and the stem grows up into the graft, and what
has been called the structural union is effected. The graft abides and becomes
one with the vine, and even though the vine were to die, would still be one wood
with it. Then there is the second process, in which the sap of the vine enters the
new structure, and uses it as a passage through which sap can flow up to show
itself in young shoots and leaves and fruit. Here is the vital union. Into the graft
which abides in the stock, the stock enters with sap to abide in it.
When our Lord says: “Abide in me, and I in you,” He points to something
analogous to this. “Abide in me”: that refers more to that which we have to do.
We have to trust and obey, to detach ourselves from all else, to reach out after
Him and cling to Him, to sink ourselves into Him. As we do this, through the
grace He gives, a character is formed, and a heart prepared for the fuller
experience: “I in you,” God strengthens us with might by the Spirit in the inner
man, and Christ dwells in the heart by faith.
Many believers pray and long very earnestly for the filling of the Spirit and the
indwelling of Christ, and wonder that they do not make more progress. The
reason is often this, the “I in you” cannot come because the “abide in me” is not
maintained. “There is one body and one spirit”; before the Spirit can fill, there
must be a body prepared. The graft must have grown into the stem, and be
abiding in it before the sap can flow through to bring forth fruit. It is as in lowly
obedience we follow Christ, even in external things, denying ourselves, forsaking
the world, and even in the body seeking to be conformable to Him, as we thus
seek to abide in Him, that we shall be able to receive and enjoy the “I in you.”
The work enjoined on us: “Abide in me,” will prepare us for the work undertaken
by Him: “I in you.”
In–The two parts of the injunction have their unity in that central deep-meaning
word “in.” There is no deeper word in Scripture. God is in all. God dwells in
Christ. Christ lives in God. We are in Christ. Christ is in us: our life taken up into
His; His life received into ours; in a divine reality that words cannot express, we
are in Him and He in us. And the words, “Abide in me and I in you,” just tell us to
believe it, this divine mystery, and to count upon our God the Husbandman, and
Christ the Vine, to make it divinely true. No thinking or teaching or praying can
grasp it; it is a divine mystery of love. As little as we can effect the union can we
understand it. Let us just look upon this infinite, divine, omnipotent Vine loving us,
holding us, working in us. Let us in the faith of His working abide and rest in Him,
ever turning heart and hope to Him alone. And let us count upon Him to fulfill in
us the mystery: “Ye in me, and I in you.”
Blessed Lord, Thou dost bid me abide in Thee. How can I, Lord, except Thou
show Thyself to me, waiting to receive and welcome and keep me? I pray Thee
show me how Thou as Vine undertaketh to do all. To be occupied with Thee is to
abide in Thee. Here I am, Lord, a branch, cleansed and abiding–resting in Thee,
and awaiting the inflow of Thy life and grace.

THE PRUNING KNIFE

Already Ye Are Clean Because of the Word I Have Spoken Unto You–John 15:3
What is the pruning knife of this heavenly Husbandman? It is often said to be
affliction. By no means in the first place. How would it then fare with many who
have long seasons free from adversity; or with some on whom God appears to
shower down kindness all their life long? No; it is the Word of God that is the
knife, shaper than any two-edged sword, that pierces even to the dividing
asunder of the soul and spirit, and is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of
the heart. It is only when affliction leads to this discipline of the Word that it
becomes a blessing; the lack of this heart-cleansing through the Word is the
reason why affliction is so often unsanctified. Not even Paul’s thorn in the flesh
could become a blessing until Christ’s Word–“My strength is made perfect in
weakness”–had made him see the danger of self-exaltation, and made him
willing to rejoice in infirmities.
The Word of God’s pruning knife. Jesus says: “Ye are already clean, because of
the word I have spoken unto you.” How searchingly that word had been spoken
by Him, out of whose mouth there went a sharp two-edged sword, as he had
taught them! “Except a man deny himself, lose his life, forsake all, hate father
and mother, he cannot be My disciple, he is not worthy of Me”; or as He humbled
their pride, or reproved their lack of love, or foretold their all forsaking Him. From
the opening of His ministry in the Sermon on the Mount to His words of warning
in the last night, His Word had tried and cleansed them. He had discovered and
condemned all there was of self; they were now emptied and cleansed, ready for
the incoming of the Holy Spirit.
It is as the soul gives up its own thoughts, and men’s thoughts of what is religion,
and yields itself heartily, humbly, patiently, to the teaching of the Word by the
Spirit, that the Father will do His blessed work of pruning and cleansing away all
of nature and self that mixes with our work and hinders His Spirit. Let those who
would know all the Husbandman can do for them, all the Vine can bring forth
through them, seek earnestly to yield themselves heartily to the blessed
cleansing through the Word. Let them, in their study of the Word, receive it as a
hammer that breaks and opens up, as a fire that melts and refines, as a sword
that lays bare and slays all that is of the flesh. The word of conviction will prepare
for the word of comfort and of hope, and the Father will cleanse them through the
Word.
All ye who are branches of the true Vine, each time you read or hear the Word,
wait first of all on Him to use it for His cleansing of the branch. Set your heart
upon His desire for more fruit. Trust Him as Husbandman to work it. Yield
yourselves in simple childlike surrender to the cleansing work of His Word and
Spirit, and you may count upon it that His purpose will be fulfilled in you.
Father, I pray Thee, cleanse me through Thy Word. Let it search out and bring to
light all that is of self and the flesh in my religion. Let it cut away every root of
self-confidence, that the Vine may find me wholly free to receive His life and
Spirit. O my holy Husbandman, I trust Thee to care for the branch as much as for
the Vine. Thou only art my hope.

THE CLEANSING

Every Branch That Beareth Fruit, He Cleanseth It, That It May Bear More Fruit–
John 15:2
There are two remarkable things about the vine. There is not a plant of which the
fruit has so much spirit in it, of which spirit can be so abundantly distilled as the
vine. And there is not a plant which so soon runs into wild wood, that hinders its
fruit, and therefore needs the most merciless pruning. I look out of my window
here on large vineyards: the chief care of the vinedresser is the pruning. You
may have a trellis vine rooting so deep in good soil that it needs neither digging,
nor manuring, nor watering: pruning it cannot dispense with, if it is to bear good
fruit. Some tree needs occasional pruning; others bear perfect fruit without any:
the vine must have it. And so our Lord tells us, here at the very outset of the
parable, that the one work the Father does to the branch that bears fruit is: He
cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit.
Consider a moment what this pruning or cleansing is. It is not the removal of
weeds or thorns, or anything from without that may hinder the growth. No; it is
the cutting off of the long shoots of the previous year, the removal of something
that comes from within, that has been produced by the life of the vine itself. It is
the removal of something that is a proof of the vigor of its life; the more vigorous
the growth has been, the greater the need for the pruning. It is the honest,
healthy wood of the vine that has to be cut away. And why? Because it would
consume too much of the sap to fill all the long shoots of last year’s growth: the
sap must be saved up and used for fruit alone. The branches, sometimes eight
and ten feet long, are cut down close to the stem, and nothing is left but just one
or two inches of wood, enough to bear the grapes. It is when everything that is
not needful for fruit-bearing has been relentlessly cut down, and just as little of
the branches as possible has been left, that full, rich fruit may be expected.
What a solemn, precious lesson! It is not to sin only that the cleansing of the
Husbandman here refers. It is to our own religious activity, as it is developed in
the very act of bearing fruit. It is this that must be cut down and cleansed away.
We have, in working for God, to use our natural gifts of wisdom, or eloquence, or
influence, or zeal. And yet they are ever in danger of being unduly developed,
and then trusted in. And so, after each season of work, God has to bring us to
the end of ourselves, to the consciousness of the helplessness and the danger of
all that is of man, to feel that we are nothing. All that is to be left of us is just
enough to receive the power of the life-giving sap of the Holy Spirit. What is of
man must be reduced to its very lowest measure. All that is inconsistent with the
most entire devotion to Christ’s service must be removed. The more perfect the
cleansing and cutting away of all that is of self, the less of surface over which the
Holy Spirit is to be spread, so much the more intense can be the concentration of
our whole being, to be entirely at the disposal of the Spirit. This is the true
circumcision of the heart, the circumcision of Christ. This is the true crucifixion
with Christ, bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in the body.
Blessed cleansing, God’s own cleansing! How we may rejoice in the assurance
that we shall bring forth more fruit.
O our holy Husbandman, cleanse and cut away all that there is in us that would
make a fair show, or could become a source of self-confidence and glorying.
Lord, keep us very low, that no flesh may glory in Thy presence. We do trust
Thee to do Thy work.

MORE FRUIT

And Every Branch That Beareth Fruit, He Cleanseth, That it May Bear More
Fruit–John 15:2
The thought of fruit is so prominent in the eye of Him who sees things as they
are, fruit is so truly the one thing God has set His heart upon, that our Lord, after
having said that the branch that bears no fruit is taken away, at once adds: and
where there is fruit, the one desire of the Husbandman is more fruit. As the gift of
His grace, as the token of spiritual vigor, as the showing forth of the glory of God
and of Christ, as the only way for satisfying the need of the world, God longs and
fits for, more fruit.
More Fruit–This is a very searching word. As churches and individuals we are in
danger of nothing so much as self-contentment. The secret spirit of Laodicea–we
are rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing–may prevail where it
is not suspected. The divine warning–poor and wretched and miserable–finds
little response just where it is most needed.
Let us not rest content with the thought that we are taking an equal share with
others in the work that is being done, or that men are satisfied with our efforts in
Christ’s service, or even point to us as examples. Let our only desire be to know
whether we are bearing all the fruit Christ is willing to give through us as living
branches, in close and living union with Himself, whether we are satisfying the
loving heart of the great Husbandman, our Father in Heaven, in His desire for
more fruit.
More Fruit–The word comes with divine authority to search and test our life: the
true disciple will heartily surrender himself to its holy light, and will earnestly ask
that God Himself may show what there may be lacking in the measure or the
character of the fruit he bears. Do let us believe that the Word is meant to lead us
on to a fuller experience of the Father’s purpose of love, of Christ’s fullness, and
of the wonderful privilege of bearing much fruit in the salvation of men.
More Fruit–The word is a most encouraging one. Let us listen to it. It is just to the
branch that is bearing fruit that the message comes: more fruit. God does not
demand this as Pharaoh the task-master, or as Moses the lawgiver, without
providing the means. He comes as a Father, who gives what He asks, and works
what He commands. He comes to us as the living branches of the living Vine,
and offers to work the more fruit in us, if we but yield ourselves into His hands.
Shall we not admit the claim, accept the offer, and look to Him to work it in us?
“That it may bear more fruit”: do let us believe that as the owner of a vine does
everything to make the fruitage as rich and large as possible, the divine
Husbandman will do all that is needed to make us bear more fruit. All He asks is,
that we set our heart’s desire on it, entrust ourselves to His working and care,
and joyfully look to Him to do His perfect work in us. God has set His heart on
more fruit; Christ waits to work it in us; let us joyfully look up to our divine
Husbandman and our heavenly Vine, to ensure our bearing more fruit.
Our Father which art in Heaven, Thou art the heavenly Husbandman. And Christ
is the heavenly Vine. And I am a heavenly branch, partaker of His heavenly life,
to bear His heavenly fruit. Father, let the power of His life so fill me, that I may
ever bear more fruit, to the glory of Thy name.