If a branch becomes disconnected from its vine, it will stop producing fruit. Why? Because it’s been cut off from its lifeline—its source of water and nutrients. This is common sense to most people, yet when it comes to our relationship with Jesus, it can be all too easy to disconnect.
But why is that? There are lots of potential reasons, but for many it simply comes down to the reality that we have dozens of other things competing for our attention. Our lives are filled with distractions—and not all of those distractions are bad, either! Working to provide for your family, trying to get good grades, and investing time in friends and loved ones can all be great things. When we’re not careful, however, even those good things can begin to pull us further away from Jesus, our main source of nourishment.
The truth is, we’re better sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, co-workers, and friends when we remain in Christ’s love. He is the Vine, and we are the branches. We can’t produce real fruit outside of Him. We might be able to “fake it” for a little while, but sooner or later, it will catch up to us. We may become weary, anxious, impatient, and harsh. We’ll lack the joy that only Christ can offer.
Even those who don’t know Christ personally can see when we are full of His fruit. They may not be able to pinpoint exactly what it is, but they can tell that something is different. One of the greatest commands we are given is to love to others. When we are connected to Jesus, the fruit of love will pour into and out of us. If we are trying to reach others for Christ and show them the amazing, unending, all-powerful love that Jesus is offering, we need to first love Him.
1. What is currently attempting to pull you away from the true Vine? How can you redirect your primary focus to Christ so that you can bear good fruit?
2. Let’s ask Jesus to help us bear good fruit through Him: “Jesus, You are the source of life and true nourishment for our spirits. Thank You for your love. Please help me to get past the distractions and to stay closely connected to you. Give me what I need to bear good fruit and love others the way you love us.”
Jesus, the True Vine
1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 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.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.