“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 ESV).
The needs of others press into my soul and I want to help. Almost weekly, family, friends, and strangers reveal to me the toll suicide is taking on them. My heart breaks for so many who struggle with despair, and I desire to be present for anyone in need of comfort, a listening ear, and God’s love. But I cannot maintain, was never meant to sustain, ministry alone. I cannot be your vine.
God is a good gardener and within his care, we bear much fruit. Apart from him, we cannot do anything. Believers fall away because we attempt to MAKE fruit grow in our own skills, time frame, and energy. We count heads in the pews, facebook likes, ministries we are involved in. This is not where the fruit happens.
Fruit grows in the vine of Christ. So right now I stop trying to produce and submit to God’s pruning and cultivation. He uses scripture (currently reading Job), prayer, worship, pastors, nature, wise counsel, and music to nourish me. He is slowing me down and causing me to be more intentional in action and follow through.
Supporting, encouraging, and loving those who cross my path in their time of grief consistent connection with Jesus. He is the vine, and I am a branch. Notice Jesus doesn’t say the only branch; because many others will bear the fruit of sharing God’s love. Christ points at you in the middle of a vineyard of luscious ripe grapes and says. Abide in me, and out of that abiding comes fruitfulness. We are nourished by his will, love, strength, and compassion. But, too often we attempt to sustain ourselves and others in our own abilities and we wither.
Our model to this vine and branch relationship is Jesus and God the Father. He said his purpose was to do the will of the father (John 6:38). The son of man remained firmly planted where God placed him, even on the cross. As a believer, I am grafted into Christ and I will bear the most fruit by remaining in his will even in hard things.
Devotionals are Posted at 7 pm every Tuesday