Wednesday, June 8, 2016

To Bear Fruit, I need to Be and Stay Connected

In review of John 15:4 it says, “Live in me, and I will live in you. A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself. It has to stay attached to the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit unless you live in me”

Bottom Line:
A branch cannot produce anything if it is disconnected from the trunk.

What this means to me:
If I live in Him and will live in me. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is severed or disconnected from the vine. In the same manner, I’m not able to produce fruit if I’m not living in Him.

Today's passage comes from the first part of John chapter 15 where John explains how Jesus is the true vine. Jesus is the source, the true grapevine and God is the gardener. God will cut off any branch that isn't productive and producing fruit, likewise he will prune branches that do bear fruit so that they will be even more productive. We are to remain in Jesus, if we do, he will remain in us. Apart from him, we can not do anything fruitful for the kingdom.

Right before Jesus went to the cross, he gave us his last minute instructions: “Live in me, and I will live in you. A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself. It has to stay attached to the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit unless you live in me” (John 15:4 GW).

Being spiritually connected to Jesus is like being attached to a vine. I won’t have any fruitfulness or productivity in life if I’m out there on your own. I need to stay connected.

In plants, a disconnected branch can’t bear fruit. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago, when a large branch fell off of a tree in my neighbor's yard and landed in mine.  It was amazing to notice over the days/weeks that followed (as I worked on ways to break this down to smaller pieces to dispose of), how quickly the leaves died.  Now this was a really large branch of the tree, however without being connected to the trunk it withered quickly.

Jesus is telling us this that this same thing is true for us. When we don’t have the support, we not only start to whither and die, but we also don’t have any productivity in life if we’re not spiritually connected.

Other passages in scripture help explain what kind of fruit I can produce when I’m connected to the Christ and his Body. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” (Galatians 5:22-23a NIV).

I know I’d like to be more loving. I’d like to be more joyful. I’d like to be more at peace, no matter what happens to the economy. I’d like to be more kind to people who are mean to me. I’d like to be a good person. I want to be faithful, not unfaithful. I want to keep my promises. I’d like to be gentle with people who are not very gentle. And I’d like to have more self-control.

Having and experiencing this is called the fruit of the Spirit, and it’s the evidence that I am spiritually connected. If I’m not seeing evidence of myself growing in all these things, then I’m likely to not be spiritually connected.

Today’s passage emphasizes that is so important that we won’t have any fruitfulness or any productivity if we area out there on my own. I’ve got to be connected to the Christ and his Body (fellowship with other believers.)

When it comes to my own life, I do try to stay connected by being part of a regular group and having daily quiet times.  However, its really easy for me to be part of and do things, but also easy for me to forget and go my own way.  As I look at the fruits of the Spirit, I can see many of these traits being part of who I am, but I can still use help. I have noticed a difference in how these things more easily slip away when I’m not staying connected.  I just need to make sure I continue to make time with him and others a priority.

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