Life as a Branch

What does a branch do? Not much. The roots, vine and leaves of a plant do most of the work. Without them, the branch will wither and die, and be pruned and thrown into the fire and burned up (Matthew 7:19).

 

Yet, securely connected to the vine, the branch will bear much fruit (Matthew 7:18). The vine is one long system with many branches flaring out from it. It uses rocks, other plants, trees or any viable support for growth.

 

The vine helps to fertilize the soil over which it spreads, holding in moisture needed by the branches to bear fruit. It colonizes and spreads quickly. When pruned, the branches bear even more fruit (John 15:4-8).

 

The vine always moves toward the light in order to position the leaves of the plant to access the most and best sunlight. The vine will even overcome walls, fences and ravines in order to spread. So like our spiritual walk.

 

Vines stabilize the plant on which they attach as a support, and also help to hold soil in place and to cover parts of the earth that would otherwise be bare, parched soil.

 

A stem is stationary and remains in one spot, but a vine spreads out and up and around. Jesus could have used the word “stem” instead of vine in illustrating our connection to Him.

 

However, His use of the word vine shows that He is interested in spreading His gospel as quickly and prolifically as possible. The roots of the vine also spread out in the soil, offering stability and nourishment for the whole vine and branches.

 

Roots act like tiny straws, sucking up water and minerals from the soil. The little hairs sticking out from the roots help in this absorption process too. Roots anchor the vine much like God’s Spirit anchors us in life.

 

Roots also store extra nutrients for later use, ensuring that the Vine and branches have the provision they need for healthy growth now and in the future.

 

The leaves on the branches join the roots in providing much needed food for the vine and branches. They use sunlight, water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air in photosynthesis to make a sugary energy drink for the vine and branches.

 

Living apart from God’s presence, the nurturing of His Spirit and the Body of Christ, we cannot survive in this world (John 15:5). We would wither and die, be pruned and discarded.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for providing Jesus as the support for our life as our Vine. We are amazed at how You piece together the Body, the Spirit and Your presence to make us healthy, and a viable conduit of Your life in order for us to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

 

Remind us that we are useless without You, Your Spirit and Your Body, because we could not bear fruit. We rely on You for everything we need for life and godliness (2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Peter 1:3). Use our fruit to feed the multitudes who come to gather in Your presence.

 

Thought for the Day

The symbolism which Jesus used of the Vine and branches is such a perfect picture of the Christian life; the fellowship, comradery, spiritual nourishment and support provided to us by Jesus, His Spirit and His Body is invaluable to our personal growth in Christ.

 

 

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Fruitatstic Personality

The Holy Spirit moves into our life at justification – when we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to save us from the penalty of them. He brings with Him the power, nature and fruit of God’s character.

His fantastic fruit will replace our carnal nature and make us a new creation (Romans 6:22). However, the weeds of sin, the world and the devil will rob the soil of our life and starve the spiritual fruit, preventing it from growing.

It is our choice to allow or to hinder this from happening. Negative emotions will crowd out His fruit by dominating our thoughts and preventing God’s Word from germinating (2 Timothy 3:2; Romans 1:30).

It seems to be easier to grow the weeds of sin than the fruit of the Spirit; but as we surrender our will and all of our human effort to God’s Spirit, it becomes unpleasant to sin and joyful to walk in holiness (1 John 2:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

We discover that God’s Spirit replaces hatred with love, discontentment with peace, irritation with patience, criticism with gentleness, backbiting with goodness, worry with faith, pride with meekness, and depression with true joy, as we are controlled and guided by Him.

What do these fruit actually mean to our life and personality? His love gives us affection for others; joy produces an exuberance in us for life; peace conveys a deep abiding serenity; patience provides us with the willingness to persevere.

Gentleness exudes compassion from our heart; goodness radiates kindness which pervades our entire being; faith comes from experiencing God’s faithfulness; meekness makes us humble in our service to our King; and when God’s Spirit guides us each moment of the day, we have self-control in every circumstance (Galatians 5:22-23).

It is a bit overwhelming to think of changing all of these attitudes in our life at one time. Actually, the Holy Spirit changes us from one stage of glory to the next, a little at a time, one degree at a time (2 Corinthians 3:18).

We end up with a fruitastic personality; and we can share God’s fruit throughout our lifetime with everyone we will ever meet. We will develop into a wonderful example of the love of God in an individual’s life.

Prayer:
Father God, our old nature prevents Your fruit from growing in our life. Help us to lay aside those negative emotions and character traits, which so easily weigh us down and to allow Your Spirit to transform our life (Hebrews 12:1). Thank You for helping us to focus on the positive viewpoint in Your Word whenever negative thoughts assail us (Philippians 4:8).

Help us to meditate on Your Word day and night as Your Spirit gives us the mind of Christ to replace the negative attitudes which come from Satan, the world and the flesh. Show us the root of every negative thought, feeling and outlook, so that we can surrender it to You immediately. This will prevent us from adopting a negative, complaining, stressed, depressed or grouchy attitude. Thank You for delivering us from our self.

Thought for the Day:
We can write verses pertaining to one fruit at a time and post them in obvious places where we spend time: like the bathroom mirror or kitchen window or refrigerator, or above our desk at work; so we can reread them daily as God’s Spirit transforms our life with them.