What happens if you’re connected to the Vine, bearing tons of fruit and then life happens and your branch gets separated from the Vine? What happens to all that beautiful, luscious fruit?
I am not proud of this story, so I’m hoping that God can use it for good… the other day was not a great day. I woke up in a fine mood; got in an argument with my husband. Went to work; nicely told my boss I wasn’t going to do my job. Talked to my daughter on the way home; irritated her and she hung up on me. Went to my Bible study; had nothing to contribute. It was around this point that I realized the problem — I hadn’t spent any quality time with God in six days.
I wish this was a new problem for me, but it’s an area in which I’ve always struggled. The good news is that it was only six days. I’ve had much longer dry spells with much more damaging results. When I am not connected to the Vine that beautiful, luscious fruit He’s been growing through me dries up. Yep. My grapes turn to raisins. For some reason, I had never before considered the fruit in this passage as the fruit of the Spirit. It struck me that a disconnect from the Vine is a disconnect from the Spirit and a disconnect from the Spirit is a disconnect from the fruit of the Spirit. Patience? Shriveled. Kindness? Scorched. Gentleness? Rotting on the ground. Self-control? Withered. You get the ugly picture…
So the next day I turned it around. I confessed and reconnected myself to the Vine and what a different kind of day I had. Fruit may dehydrate with a lack of water, but if you can let Jesus do the work and rehydrate your branch, it’s amazing what a comeback that Spirit fruit makes! When we are struggling to walk in His image and the fruit on our branch is not even a remote reflection of the fruit of His Spirit, we just need to reconnect to our Source. Scripture teaches us that He is the Living Water — the only One who can fully hydrate us. He is the Bread of Life from which we receive our nourishment and His Word is what sustains our spiritual hunger. We are never without hope and grafting is His specialty.
Great lesson, now what? I mentioned six days was pretty good for me because I am realizing that the sooner I reconnect, the smaller the damage and the less my spiritual life is impacted. It’s easy to ignore the problem and have weeks or even months go by. Sometimes we realize the problem but would rather keep doing things our own way because we think the Vine’s expectations (being connected) are too limiting. We can’t do whatever we want however we want attached to the Vine. Which is true, but this is not a bad thing; it is fully good. Jesus tells us directly in this verse that without our connection to Him we can do nothing. There is no fruit because dried up fruit eventually falls off. The passage goes on to say that branches not bearing fruit will be cut off from the Vine (John 15:1-17).
This is one of those aspects of Scripture that just make sense. Have you ever seen a branch lying on the ground bearing fruit? Have you ever seen a branch apart for a tree that wasn’t broken? Of course not. If you have been walking for six days, six months, six years, or even a lifetime, disconnected from Jesus, take this moment to turn it around. Take a next step with journaling or a deeper study in His Word. Pray. Confess your brokenness and ask Him to re-graft you to Himself; ask for His fruit to become bountiful in your life.
- What’s the longest you’ve gone disconnected from the Vine? What did that season look like? How did you reconnect?
- Which are the first of fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) to dry up when you don’t spend enough time with Jesus? How can you use this self-awareness as a warning sign to get reconnected?
- How is your connection right now? If you are in a season of dehydration, write about why you think that is. If you are bearing fruit, write a prayer of gratitude for all God is doing in you and through you.