Several months ago, the monotony of the days had been getting to me-one running into the next, that I sometimes forgot to count my blessings. Like painting with those messy Crayola watercolor paints, where one color runs into the next and you can’t distinguish the blue from the red from the green, because they’re all muddied-that’s how it was. I didn’t want to adult and complete the routine tasks of washing dishes and making dinner, to do it all over again the next day and the next. Catching myself grumbling, I paused, then asked for forgiveness. In connecting with God, I heard Him say remain in me.
This brought to mind some Christians I met with years ago in a life group that were also discussing these words from the Bible:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. -John 15:1-11
During our meeting a little over a decade ago, I distinctly recall the powerful message that was presented. The leader of the group had cut a tree branch a couple of days prior and showed us that the withering branch was dying because it wasn’t connected to its source. It was cut off from its lifeblood and was no longer getting the nutrients it needed to survive, let alone thrive and prosper. This is what happens to us. We must remain in Him in order to continue to bear fruit, in order to grow. How can we be expected to thrive without our Lifeline? When we don’t remain connected to the Vine, our growth is stunted.
Are you staying connected to Him or have you cut yourself off from the One who will sustain you? Where are you getting your strength? Are you remaining in Him so you can keep walking the narrow path? He makes it extremely clear in this verse that we are to remain in Him. We must stay connected at all times in order to blossom. Let us be those branches that bear fruit-that flourish, by remembering to remain in His love every moment of every day. Then, we will have the sustenance to keep doing His will-loving and serving others while building the Kingdom of God.