The True Vine

Read: Galatians 5:15-26

We live in a connected world.  Wireless internet and Bluetooth connections are available in more and more places it seems.  I recently saw an ad that Oral B now has a bluetooth toothbrush that will connect to an app on your smartphone and monitor the speed, time, and thoroughness of your daily brushing habits.  Really?  Will it tell me how much toothpaste to put on?

In John 15 when Jesus says, “I AM the vine, you are the branches” he is talking about our connection to God.  He proclaims that he is the bridge that provides grace and forgiveness for our sins and restores our relationship with his Father.  Jesus goes on to say, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

The fruit that Jesus speaks of is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that is listed in our Galatians passage for this week.  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.  When our relationship with God is restored, connected, and bearing fruit, this is what our life should produce.  Not from ourselves but from the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through us from God.

Jesus used the vineyard to describe this connection because that was especially relevant to the people he was teaching in John 15.  We still have vineyards today and this example is still good and valid for us, especially those who are great at gardening, pruning, and nurturing plants and vines.  They know the importance of trimming off the old so that new and better fruit can come forth.

But even for those who are not master gardeners there are modern day examples of this.  If Jesus were here today teaching this same truth would he maybe use the example of being connected with technology?  If your Wifi goes out or your Bluetooth connection keeps getting disconnected it is very hard or even impossible to accomplish much of anything with those devices.  If your business relies on that you know the importance of that daily connection.

How might Jesus use that as an encouragement for us to stay connected to him?  His words, “apart from me you can do nothing” seem to fit very well with that 21st century example.  That leads us to the question Jesus wants us to consider.  How well connected are we to God?  How much do we rely on God?  How reliant are we on God?  Are we producing fruit?  One thing is for sure, I better be connected before my toothbrush is.

Make it personal:  Rob Fuquay writes, “We stay connected to God’s power by staying connected to Christ.”  What does that mean for you?  What needs to be pruned, trimmed, or cut out of your life in order to bear better fruit spiritually?  Let’s all take time this week to think about these things that Jesus speaks of.

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church