“and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.” – Colossians 2:19 (NLT)
On Sunday we talked about John 15:5 which says, “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.”
When you think about it, that is a pretty dramatic statement and reminds us that we cannot have a little bit of Jesus. He is the source and goal of all we are and do. And we only can live a full life when we are connected to Him.
Imagine with me a vine branch, cut off from the vine and just lying there all by itself on the ground. What’s going to happen? Very soon the leaves begin to turn brown and look withered. If something doesn’t happen soon, that branch will die.
The bottom line is that the wine and branches metaphor suggests a deep and vibrant relationship with God. One that is active. Remember the last part of John 15:5: “You can do nothing apart from me.” This verse tells me that being in an intimate relationship with Jesus day in, day out, hour by hour, week by week, month by month and year by year is the only way to live a Home Run Life. But this metaphor also clearly indicates that you must be connected to God. That’s the only way the spiritual nutrients, chemicals and life are available to us.
Jesus uses the word “remain” a great deal. For example, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me,” (John 15:4 NLT) I counted the word “remain”11 times in these in John 15: 1-17. What does it mean? To remain in Jesus is to be into Jesus. Jesus becomes and is the controlling passion of your life. Everything, every day, revolves around knowing Him, following Him, serving Him, and being influenced by Him. We need to remember that He is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from Him we can do nothing. Then we need to go and live that out. We need to cultivate hearts that are bent toward Jesus. We need to do things that let the Holy Spirit transform us. We are not the ones in control, we cannot depend on our ability and wisdom.
The longer I live, the more aware I become of how true the statement is that “apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus is the source of my life and your life. As branches, we don’t exist apart from the vine.
My prayer is that we learn to remain in Him as He remains in us. Keep asking yourself, what do I need to change in my life so that I am consistently doing things to remain in Him?
- What did Jesus mean when He said “I am the true vine” (John 15:1)?
- Practically, how can we ensure that we are remaining in Him?
- What does Jesus mean by fruit? What is God’s (the gardener) role in fruit being produced in the Vine and borne through the branches?
- Pray and ask God to strengthen your connection with Him.