Good Shepherd Lutheran

Stay ConnectedJohn 15:1-8
Jesus tells us, “I am the vine, you are the branches. God my Father is the vine grower – the gardener. He removes any branches that don’t bear fruit. Every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, to make it bear more fruit.” So, maybe you’re asking yourself, “Am I producing fruit?”
I think it’s fair to say that like our plants, we wither from time to time. I’m talking about withering in our walk with the Lord. Most Christians have highs and lows in their journey of faith, it’s just part of the journey. But when we wither, it’s usually because we’ve allowed our relationship with Jesus to grow cold, so our spiritual energy withers. Then like drooping plants, our relationship with Christ that was once so vibrant and fresh becomes stale, boring, and dry!
Sometimes we aren’t aware that this is happening until it’s too late. We still come to church, we still “do ministry,” we still say all the right words, and we may still even sing the hymns with gusto. And for most people looking in from the outside, everything seems to be okay. But the truth is, we’ve gotten disconnected. That’s because we live in the world, and the ways of the world can weaken our connection to Jesus Christ. This is why in John 15:4 He says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”
If we’re going to keep our relationship with Jesus Christ fresh, we have to stay connected to Him. You know when your relationship with Christ has grown tired and disconnected from Him, even if you’re not ready to admit it. You know because you find yourself going to church just because you feel guilty if you don’t. Or because you’re reading your Bible like it’s a catalog instead of a love letter addressed to you. Or because your prayers become a habit instead of an honest heart to heart with God. Or because your worship becomes reduced to sitting in the pew counting the minutes until you can hear the benediction and go home.
In order to be fruitful, you have to be fully present in your relationship with Jesus. You can’t just dictate your own terms for following Him. Through His preaching, teaching, and personal example, He’s already defined what we need to do as His disciples. The word “disciple” means learner. And when we accept that name, we’re saying that we’re going to school with Jesus. We’re learning from him. And in the process, we’ll stumble. But by abiding in Him and keeping our connection to Him strong, we learn.
Jesus provides us with everything we need to remain a healthy and productive part of the vine. He’s the source of our strength and power. Abd when His power and life flow through us we become truly fruitful. We just have to stay connected.