I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Jesus did not endure the cross for fame, fortune, or to begin a religion. He did so because people matter. Some of his last teaching moments to his disciples, recorded just a few verses after the above in verse 17, he restates a command that he had given many times throughout his ministry – love each other.
Easier said than done, right? Social media has made it easier than ever to do just the opposite. We’ve become experts at avoiding real and meaningful connections. Put me on a 30 second elevator ride with another human, and I’m on my phone; much easier than engaging a stranger…eek!
What if the verse above was slightly altered to reflect this?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will do nothing; apart from me you can bear much fruit.” – Your Phone 15:5
At this point, you are probably thinking this is a conversation about the evils of social media. Nope. However, it is about the dangers and propensity many of us have to approach relationships without the intervention and power of Jesus.
When Jesus said that we would bear fruit by remaining connected to him, he was talking about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
All healthy relationships should have these components. I can’t think of a time that I wanted someone to be a little less kind to me or not quite so full of joy. However, I can think of plenty of times, or even seasons, when I was not connected to the vine. My relationships suffered.
The fruits of the spirit, including the ability to love, do not begin with us; they come to us through the vine.
If a relationship is strained or absent, we may be tempted to only look at the situation from our own perspective. When we do, we tend to become more selfish, self-centered, and isolated.
The resurrection of Jesus has given us access to his power to resurrect broken relationships and to love each other. This power is available to us as we remain in him.
Abide! Spend some time today to think about a relationship that has been damaged. How can you let the love of God flow through you? How might remaining in God help you to forgive, ring a doorbell, drive across town, or yes, even pick up the phone and make a call?