John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Its one thing to wonder how you fit in to the grand scope of things, so that you come to know who you really are - but when someone asks - who do you think you are? Chances are they are not really curious about your identity, but they are saying, whoever you think you are, you've got no right to be where you are, or to be doing what you are doing. And if that's the case, there is a very good chance, the next question will be, and what do you have to say for yourself.
There is a reason why these questions are asked, in part it happens when we act as though we are something that we are not - specifically, when we act as though we are God, someone in control, someone in charge - and we do this a lot more than we care to admit. The danger is that when we do this, we forget who we really are. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, our lives are always lives in Christ. And our problem is that we would like to imagine ourselves to be the vine - because if we are the vine, then we can go where we want, and do what we want - and we are in charge, we can tell others where to go and what to do. The problem is, that while we like the control, the freedom, the power, the one thing we cannot do, is what a vine does, to grow, to feed, to give and sustain life - we just are not God.
Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches - Jesus gives us life, Jesus feeds us so that we may grow and bear fruit. And if we are in Christ, even how we grow is not something we get to choose. Think about it. Plants grow towards the light, they don't even need to be told. We grow in Christ, and we grow towards Christ. What does this mean? It means that you do not grow away from your faith, nor do you grow away from the church. If you're heading away, you're not growing - you're dying - why? Because that is the nature of sin. Sin separates us from God, that is, sin cuts us of from the vine, so that we wither and die. That's why this is important, that's why people need to know - because God doesn't want people to die - God wants people to live, and be saved - and Jesus is the only name given under heaven in which there is salvation.
Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches - and forgiveness is just like life from the dead. For if sin cuts us off from Jesus, then forgiveness is nothing less, that being brought back to life, by being brought back to Jesus. And that's the work of the church, to bring the good news of forgiveness, of new life, to those who are perishing in sin.
Jesus is the vine and we are the branches - and the Father is the vine-dresser, he prunes us so that we bear much fruit. Sometimes this can be hard to understand. We can be in Christ, and yet there is still a discipline that shapes us. Sometimes this pruning cuts off leaves, because there needs to be a balance between fruit and leaves. Sometimes this pruning cuts off fruit, because there is only so much we can bear. What is important is that God is shaping us for our good, and God knows who we are.
What is most important for us is to know who God is - for the more we know who God is, how much he loves us, how well he knows us, how richly he supplies our needs - the less likely it will be that we will play God, do what we want, and imagine that we have a freedom apart from Christ - that's why its good for us to remember who we are - we are the branches, Jesus is the vine - and as long as we remain in Christ, we can know we will bear much fruit - God has promised. And since we know about God, we know that he keeps his promises.