Storms come. The wind blasts the trees. Branches break and fall. And if you’re a DIYer, you might do what I’ve done in the past: drag some branches inside and decorate with them. Sometimes painting them first, then, putting them on the mantel.
To dress them up, I might use fake leaves, fake flowers, or any number of other things. I also might glue on pinecones or fake berries or fake fruit to make them look, um, almost real.
Well, I can decorate them all I want, but they will never bear real fruit. Because they have lost their connection to their source of life.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine…Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me.” (John 15:1a, 4 Voice)
I can no more produce spiritual fruit in my life when I disconnect from the Lord than the branches on the mantle can produce edible fruit.
And I can’t fake it. I can’t put on the appearance of spiritual fruit and be fruitless inside. To produce that fruit, I need to maintain a connection to Jesus, the Vine, so the fruit of the Spirit will manifest in me.
And I cannot produce it myself as a branch, only through Christ as the Vine. My work is to provide my life a channel for the Life-flow from the Vine. The Life-sap coursing through the Vine is the same Life-sap that courses through all of us as branches.
The flow is stilled and separation begins when I sin. When I am negative and whiney. When I unforgiving. When I am prideful. When I am whatever I’m not supposed to be. For I then halt the production of the Spirit’s fruit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal. 5:22b-23a NKJV) Oh, the heartaches I cause myself when I disobey the Lord!
If I cling to the weeds of sin and the overgrowth of disobedience and circumstances in my life, then they will smother the Lord’s presence within me, and I will be fruitless. Jesus said, “You can’t produce anything without Me.” (John 15:5b GW)
As a branch, I must think, act, and live in His presence to stay attached to the Vine. If I am disconnected from the Vine, I cannot share in the life of the Vine, though Christ is still within me. If I desire to be fruitful, I must reconsider what I’m doing and repent if it is not God’s will.
We have that holy Life-flow running through us. It is His precious blood running through our veins, directly into our hearts.
Maybe your prayer will be as mine…
Lord, prune me. Trim away the tendrils of growth that are not of Your design. Kick out the fruit-eaters. Pull up the choking weeds of sin. Sow Your seeds of the Word for the harvest You desire in my life and may my heart be the good soil as “the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit.” (Mark 4:20b RSV)
Don’t try to be a fake sitting on the mantel all gussied up. Stay connected to the Vine. And be a channel for the Life-flow to produce the good fruit of the Vine!
***winner of the gift card is: James Davis