Once upon a time we lived in a house bordered by a fence upon which grapevines grew. Every summer, we watched these vines produce bunches and bunches of grapes.
I wish I could say I personified the Proverbs 31 woman and turned those grapes into jellies and jams, but alas, that wasn’t the case. Without fail, furry masked bandits outsmarted me. They’d steal into the yard under the cover of darkness and strip the vines before the grapes matured. Our loss; the raccoons’ gain. Sigh.
Nonetheless, those grapevines taught me a vital lesson, one that Jesus taught His disciples. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches,” He said. “Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NLT).
I’m no horticulturalist, but even I understand that a harvest of grapes is possible only when there’s a healthy relationship between the grape vines and the branches. Sever that connection, and even the raccoons will come up empty-handed.
Spiritually speaking, Jesus is the Vine and we’re the branches. The healthier and more vibrant our connection with Him, the more fruit our lives will produce. So how can we stay connected to Jesus, anyway? Here are three ways:
- By spending time with Him.
This looks different for every person depending on life seasons, but the need to spend time in His presence is the same. This means reading God’s Word (when I was a young mom, I managed one verse/day), and praying. Some people have the luxury of praying for an hour or more; others breathe prayer as they go throughout their daily responsibilities. It also means being aware of His presence in us moment by moment.
- By making choices that honor Him.
We’re faced with umpteen dozen choices every day. What will I eat? What will I wear? To what music will I listen? What will I read? In which conversations will I engage? Even those seemingly insignificant choices make a difference in our connectedness to Jesus.
For instance—What will I eat? Well, my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I need to care for it properly, and that happens best when I fuel it with proper nutrition. Doing otherwise injures my connection with Jesus because I’m disregarding my role as a steward of the body He’s given me. It’s basically saying, “I’m the boss over my body and I can do what I want with it.” That’s so not true. If He’s bought us with His blood, then He’s the boss and we need to give Him due respect.
In which conversations will I engage? If I choose negative or critical conversations, then I injure that connection with Jesus because I’m disobeying His command to speak only words that encourage or build up other people.
- By thinking thoughts that honor Jesus.
Scripture tells me to think thoughts that are pure, lovely, and true. Doing so protects my connection with Jesus because my mind will be in sync with His mind and His desires for me. Habitually thinking wrong thoughts destroys my connection with Him because He’s holy and cannot dwell where sin abounds.
Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches. Maintaining a strong and vibrant connection with Him results in a fruitful life that brings much glory to God. That’s what I want. Do you, too?
What suggestions do you have for maintaining a strong connection with the Vine?