In John 15 Jesus says that He is the true vine, God is the vinedresser (gardener) and we are the branches. He goes on to suggest that we are created for a reason-to bear spiritual fruit. As I think upon this, I can't help but wonder how many Christians understand that this is why your were created. We were created to bear spiritual fruit-by staying connected to the Vine (Christ).
Do we explain to those who come to faith in Christ this at their salvation? Do we explain to them that our task is not to say a prayer, but to allow the Holy Spirit to develop in us, and from the the FRUIT of the Spirit to be used to see the Kingdom inaugurated in those lives around us who do not know Jesus?
As I have studied this passage the past month I have seen this truth come to light like I hadn't before. We, as branches, MUST stay connected to the Vine. He is our source. He is our only chance. He is our life. And through this connection, we are developed. Christ like love is developed. Inexpressible joy is developed. Peace the goes beyond understanding comes. We are patient in situations where we want to throw something. We are more kind to others than we are to ourselves.
The only way that we have a chance of glorifying God in our lives is to stay connected to the Vine. By staying closer and closer to his Word each day. By sitting before him in prayer. By trusting him in difficult circumstances. By denying ourselves, when all we want to do is boast in ourselves. By following Him, in faith, even when it makes no sense.
Staying connected to the Vine is our power supply. Without it, we will lose charge and soon be like our iphones that sit on our dressers at the end of the day-only a few percent left, ready to die. Jesus says if that happens to us as branches (if we do not stay connected to the Vine and thus do not produce fruit), He takes away (verse 2), and is thrown away like a branch and withers (verse 6).
For Christ to be our joy, we must stay connected to the Vine. Don't let anyone suggest that reading your Bible, prayer, etc is legalism. Of course it can be (as can anything), but these are vital to any Christians continued growth, whether they have known Jesus for 6 months or 60 years. We must seek after Jesus with diligence, persistence and His strength. Not in doing things to be validated, but doing them to completely being overwhelmed with the majesty that is our Savior evermore.
Matthew is 34 years old and currently lives in St Louis, Missouri with his wife Leslie. He serves as the Associate Pastor at The Groves Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri.