I’ve done my fair share of planting plants, killing plants, and actually growing plants.
One thing I noticed, that if a part of a plant (a bough, a branch, a stem) becomes separated from the main plant, the separated part will die. Obviously, without the connection to the main plant and its roots, it no longer receives life giving water or nourishment. It can’t survive. It dies.
In the gospel of John, chapter 15, Jesus uses the image of a vine to describe our vital relationship with him. He says he is the vine. And we are the branches. And in order to even survive, we must remain a part of him, because he is the (life-giving) living water and the bread (nutrients) of life. If we want to bear fruit (that is, have evidence of his love, joy and peace spilling out of us and into the lives of those around us) we must remain a part of him.
But what does that mean? Remain in him (Jesus) and he remain in us?
John tells us in 1 John 2:24-27 to remain faithful to what we have been taught from the beginning. If we do, we will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. And he goes on to tell us that the Spirit teaches us everything we need to know, that what he teaches is true, not a lie. So just as the Spirit has has taught us, we must remain in fellowship with Christ.
Fellowship – associate with, spend time with, be friendly with, be a companion to another.
It brings to mind one of my mom’s favorite songs.
“I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear
Falling on my ear
The song of God discloses
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own
And the joy we share
As we tarry there
None other has ever known”
(C. Austin Miles (1913))
Walking, talking, listening, enjoying time with Jesus, the one who calls us to continue with him.
The writer Luke records for us Paul’s speech in Athens, where he tells the people about the one true God. He quotes one of their own philosophers when he tells them that in this God, in the One who made the world and everything in it, including us, that ‘in him we live and move and have our being.’ He is the One who gives us life and breath.
And when we are separated from God, not connected to the true vine of Jesus, we lose the very thing that gives us abundant life.
It’s easy to see when a part of a plant has become detached. It quickly shows evidence of wilting, drying up and dying.
How might we be wilting, drying up and dying in our day to day life?
We can do a heart check. Are we easily angered? Discouraged? Do we find ourselves talking negatively about situations, or about other people? Have we become selfish, only concerned about what we want and when we want it? Do we lack peace? Joy?
Let’s come to the garden, spend some time with the God who loves us, remain in Jesus, the Son who gives us life, take in a deep breath of the Holy Spirit. Let him fill us with the blessings and riches he has for us. Walk with him. Talk with him. Listen with him.
Remain with him.