John 15:4-5 (NLT) Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
I am one of those people who others can quickly tell if I haven’t had my time with God. Even if they don’t know that is Who makes the difference in my life, people notice. I try to spend time in the Word daily and in prayer, but it is easy to tell when it is a check-marked item on my to do list versus really pressing in to abide with Him.
I remember the first time someone mentioned the difference. I had three people, one who was a stranger, comment that I was glowing. I knew that it was God’s glory because our time together had been magnificent. It was just me and Him for two hours. I was certain I was floating. The download that He gave me during that time was phenomenal. I couldn’t help but give Him honor in response to the comments.
When I choose to just remain in Him, life is just better. I realize that my relationship with Christ is supposed to stay connected. That is what it means to abide. While I stay plugged in to Him a lot more than I used to, I know there are still times that I disconnect. There is no power when I disconnect. I am not sure why I find it surprising when I quickly digress when I don’t make the effort to abide.
When I don’t take that time, the difference people notice is usually “Jackie, you seem cranky.” or at least “You seem a little off today.” I can tell the difference just in my thought process. Even if I don’t allow the negativity to come out my mouth, I know my nonverbal communication screams what is going on within my head. I know when I need to pull away and just get in His presence even if it is just for a short time so that I can find the refreshing that comes only from Him.
There are some ways that the growth in my life is like the fruit on the vine.
- Fruit only grows when it is attached to the vine. In my life, growth only occurs when I abide in Him.
- Fruit that is disconnected from the vine eventually starts to spoil. The fruit of my life may not rot immediately, but it will not stay forever.
- Fruit grows in cycles. I can not expect for the fruit of my life grows today to still be good next year. However, if I stay connected to God it will reproduce new fruit regularly.
- Fruit is best in season. God didn’t create me to store everything He has placed inside me. I need to release what is inside of me in the season He has placed me.
Unlike fruit, there are some areas where my growth differs:
- Fruit has no control over its connection to the vine due to outside influences. Staying connected to God is completely my choice.
- Fruit has no choice who picks it off the vine. I can choose to keep God in first place instead of allowing something to pull me from Him.
- Fruit can be destroyed by the weather. My circumstances may wear at me, but only I can choose to separate from the Vine. The storm will pass, if I can just weather it.
- Fruit is attached to the vine from conception. I am separated from the Vine at conception, and must choose to connect to the Vine.
The deepest, richest growth in my life has come from times when I abide in Christ. I can not always control the fruit that is produced or the rate at which it grows, but the best fruit comes when I live my life in fellowship and obedience to Him.
This blog is part of a #Write31Days series on growth. 31 Days is an online writing challenge, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day.