“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.”
Reading this latter verse reminded me of one of my favorite passages from The Normal Christian Life:
We can take meetings, and build churches, we can go to the ends of the earth and found missions, and we can seem to bear fruit; but remember that the Lord’s word is: “Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13). God is the only legitimate Originator in the universe (Gen. 1:1). Anything that you plan and set on foot has its origin in the flesh, and it will never reach the realm of the Spirit however earnestly you seek God’s blessing on it. It may last for years, and then you may think you will adjust here and improve there and maybe bring it on a better plane, but it cannot be done.Origin determines destination, and what was “of the flesh” originally will never be made spiritual by any amount of ‘improvement’. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and it will never be otherwise.Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life
I admit that when this little book was first recommended to me I had no idea what it was talking about. It was solid food; I was still subsisting on milk. In my self-important arrogance, however, I assumed that my inability to understand it was due to its mystical “Christ-in-you” theme, which I found impractical. I recall our dear sister Sharon F. (now promoted to glory) urging this book on me and telling me “It’s not about what you do for Jesus; it’s what Jesus does through you that counts.” “Sure, that’s all good,” I would counter, “but what is it that I am supposed to DO? Just tell me what to DO!”
Thankfully, God dragged me out of that “practical” state.
Today I find Nee’s truths to be powerful and liberating, very near the center of my own heart for teaching and discipleship.