If you were asked to pick one of these branches to represent your life, which one would you pick?
I don’t know about you, but I would want my life to look like the beautiful branch full of life and green leaves, instead of the dead branch laying on the ground.
Our pastor this morning preached from this verse found in John 15:
4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
9-11 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love.
This version of the bible is from The Message. It is not an exact translation of the bible, but it puts the verses in a modern day language to help us understand.
The bottom line is that a branch that is not connected to the tree (it’s source of life,) will die.
But a branch that stays connected to the tree will flourish and live!
WE are the branches.
GOD is the tree.
We need to stay connected to him so that our hearts and lives will flourish! And so that He can fill our hearts with joy.
(That doesn’t mean we will not have hardships in our lives. The storms may come, and our branches may be tossed and shaken, but if we stay connected to the tree, our lives will continue to grow. Our hearts will be filled with unshakeable joy.)
How can we be like the branch full of life?
ABIDE IN HIM.
My pastor said, “Abiding is about owning the responsibility to stay connected to Jesus. We must be deliberate and intentional about it.”
That struck a cord with me. Am I being deliberate and intentional about staying connected to Jesus?
I am deliberate about making sure my kids are fed and clothed.
I’m intentional about spending time with those I love.
I am deliberate at making sure I do projects for my blog.
I am intentional about growing my business.
Do I do the same for Jesus? Am I making Him a priority?
Not always. But I am trying.
And isn’t it good to know that God loves us despite our failures? He doesn’t give up on us. He patiently waits for us and desires for us to abide in Him.
Why? Because He Loves Us. And He wants to give us life and give it to us abundantly!
My prayer for us today is that we will be intentional and deliberate about abiding in Christ this week.