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 turned those grapes into jellies and jams, but alas, that wasn’t the case. Without fail, furry masked bandits outsmarted me. They stole into the yard under the cover of darkness and stripped 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 do we stay connected to Jesus, anyway? Here are three ways:
- By honoring Him through time in the Word and prayer
This looks different for every person depending on life seasons. When I was a young mom, I was fortunate to read and journal my thoughts on one verse per day when the kids napped, but times have changed and I enjoy unrushed time in the Word now. Your circumstances will differ from mine, but find what works for you and run with it.
When it comes to prayer, some people set aside an hour on their knees while others breathe prayer as they go throughout their daily responsibilities. Some incorporate prayer into a walk around the block. Some enjoy using a book of liturgical prayers while others write their prayers or pray through a particular Scripture passage. Again, do what works best to keep your connection with Jesus vibrant.
- By honoring Him with our choices.
We’re faced with umpteen dozen choices every day. What will I eat? What will I wear? What show will I watch? What will I read? In which social media conversations will I engage? Even those seemingly insignificant choices make a difference in our connectedness to Jesus.
Choices that honor Jesus are life-giving. (Deuteronomy 30:19) Several years ago, I came into a new realization about my body being the temple of the Holy Spirit. This prompted me to make changes to my diet and activity level. Becoming a wise steward of the body God gave me brought joy and I sensed His pleasure in my new resolve to care for it properly. Better health opened new ministry opportunities that resulted in more fruit.
- By honoring Him with our thoughts.
Scripture commands us to think thoughts that are pure, lovely, and true. (Philippians 4:8) Doing so syncs our hearts and minds with the Lord’s. We begin to value what He values. We take pleasure in the things that bring Him pleasure, and we grieve over the things that grieve Him. As our thoughts come more consistently under the Holy Spirit’s control, our hearts will grow closer to His, and fruit is the natural result of that connectedness.
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, and I suspect you want the same.
What suggestions do you have for maintaining a strong connection with the Vine?