“If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown in to the fire and burned.” John 15:6
I love plants. They add a little bit of green sunshine wherever I place them around my home. My children, on the other hand, don’t necessarily love my plants as much as I do. This is made plain to me when I find trails of stems on the floor after they sneak to play football in my living room, or after my daughter pulls the leaves off of the vine because she thinks they are flowers. As the caretaker of these plants, I understand that these leaves will wither and die if they are not connected to the vine, and that it is my job to care for them and nurse them back to life.
This is what Christ is telling His disciples that evening after the Last Supper. Jesus and his disciples walk together in the vineyard, looking at grapes bunches nearly bursting with sweet juice. I can imagine Him bending down to pick up a withered vine before saying to the 11 men standing with him, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown in to the fire and burned.” But what does this mean?
Just like my houseplants, our spirits wither when we are not connected to the True Vine, our Lord and Savior. You can find evidence of this in your life. It looks like toxic relationships filled with chaos and confusion; affiliations with people who have no business being in your life; bad choices you keep making; wounding yourself by speaking death over your life; not recognizing that you are a child of God. These withered experiences take you right in the fiery furnace of life…but there is hope!
Get Your Roots Back
What I love most about plants is that they thrive in water. Any time I find my little babies on the floor, all I do is place the stems in room temperature water and then sit back and watch as roots begin to grow. The longer they are immersed, the stronger the roots become until those leaves, that everyone thought were going to die, can be replanted in a new pot with new soil!
The same applies to all of us. God can resurrect our withered places, those parts of us that seem to have lost all life and hope, and make them live again. Once we immerse ourselves in the Living Water, reconnect and abide with Him, then He will save us from the hell we’ve created of our lives. Abiding with God transforms our withered experiences from something we’re ashamed of to a testimony that will help to transform the lives of others. Abiding with God enables the Father to reconcile Himself with us which changes the way we see, think and feel about ourselves. Abiding with God changes the people in our circle, eliminates the chaos and confusion, and brings us into His peace. Once our new roots are strong enough, God plants us in His fertile ground and produces within us fruit abundantly.
Have you been following the "Abide in Me" Fall blog series? It's not too late to get caught up. Find out about how God wants to have relationship with us in John 15:1, how He prunes us for purpose in John 15:2, how we are made clean by His word in John 15:3, how connection with the Father yields a harvest in our lives in John 15:4, and how living life God's way is better than taking on the task ourselves in John 15:5.