“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned.”(John 15:5-6)
The other day our neighbors across the street cut some large branches off a few trees in their back yard. They dragged these branches around to the street where they currently await pickup by the city.
As LuLu (our Yorkie) and I took our walk on the first day the branches were there, the branches were still green and looked healthy. It was difficult to see any difference between them and the branches that remained on the trees. However, as days passed, I noticed the leaves on the branches were turning brown and growing limp on the trees. As I passed by today, I noticed all of the leaves are dead and the branches are beginning to rot. There is no life left within them.
It’s humbling what we can learn from nature. If we are not careful, these branches can tell our story. Christ is the source of our life as a Christian. He is the vine to which our branches must stay attached. When we choose to disconnect from Him, we will experience spiritual decline and eventual spiritual death. It may not look like it at first. We may choose to skip our time in prayer. We may choose to neglect God’s word and the teachings and example of Christ within them. We may decide to skip a few worship gatherings or Bible studies. No big deal, right? Everything appears to be normal. We still feel the same.
Yet, the longer we stay disconnected from Christ and His life, the quicker we rot spiritually and experience loss. We begin thinking negative and immoral thoughts that we hadn’t thought previously. We begin doing things and saying things we normally wouldn’t say. We begin tolerating and excusing sins that would have previously brought us guilt and shame. We begin focusing on worldly things while allowing the things of Christ to fade away. Eventually, we find ourselves spiritually lost, and if we don’t return to our “first love”, we will find ourselves spiritually dead and facing an eternity of regret and pain.
Are you connected to Christ? Are you engaging with Him throughout the week? Are you praying, reading His words, and allowing Him to guide you in this life? Is Christ providing your life? Is He the source of your strength and hope?
Those branches are still rotting and dead by the side of the road. There is not a single trace of life. Don’t let your life resemble these branches. Stay connected to Christ. Let Him give you life. Let Him give you the growth and nourishment you need to thrive in this life and in the eternal life to come. Let Him be the source of all you truly need.