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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Staying Connected

In review of John 15:5 it says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Bottom Line:
If you are disconnected from Christ, you can’t really produce what is worthwhile.

What this means to me:
Jesus is the vine, I am only a branch. When I remain in and stay connected to Him, I can produce much fruit, however apart from Him or on my own, I can’t do a thing that is worthwhile.

In the first half of John 15, Jesus tells us how he is the true grapevine, and his Father is the gardener. The Father cuts off branches that don't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do, so that they will produce more. Remain in Him (Jesus) and He will remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine. It's difficult to be fruitful unless the branch remains on the vine.

Yes, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Those who remain in Him and He in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Him you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in Him is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if we remain in Him and His words remain in us, we can ask for anything (our desires will match His desires), and it will be granted. When we do produce much fruit, we become his true disciples. This brings great glory to the Father.

Jesus makes a distinction between two kinds of pruning: (1) cutting off and (2) cutting back branches. Fruitful branches are cut back to promote growth. God must sometimes discipline us to strengthen our character and faith. But branches that don't bear fruit are cut off at the trunk not only because they are worthless but also because they often infect the rest of the tree. People who don't bear fruit for God or who try to block the efforts of God's followers will be cut off from his life-giving power.

Remaining in Christ means: (1) believing that he is God's son, (2) receiving him as Savior and Lord, (3) doing what God says, (4) continuing to believe the Good News, and (5) relating in love to the community of believers, Christ's body.

Many try to be good and honest people who do what is right. But Jesus says that the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to Him, like a branch attached to the vine. Apart from Christ our efforts are unfruitful.

In addition when a vine produces "much fruit," God is glorified, for daily he sent the sunshine and rain to make the crops grow, and constantly he nurtured each tiny plant and prepared it to blossom. What a moment of glory for the Lord of the harvest when the harvest is brought into the barns, mature and ready for use! He made it all happen! This farming analogy shows how God is glorified when people come into a right relationship with him and begin to "produce much fruit" in their lives.

As long as I stay connected to Him, I will thrive, I can grow to become anything God wants me to be. But the moment I decide I no longer need God, I will begin to shrivel. I am not promised tomorrow. Stay rooted in Jesus and He will send me rain in the drought when all those around me are in need. As long as I’m connected to the living Vine, my future will shine.