by Tyler Quillet
Recently, a storm came through our area. As quickly as it came to wreak havoc, it was gone. The immediate clear skies brought all of us neighbors out to assess the damage together. Our neighborhood had numerous trees down, many of them on top of the cars that had been parked underneath them. We had a nice shade tree in both the front and back yard. Both down. So, the clean-up began and the chain saws came out. We cut these recently healthy trees up and created huge piles of green along the side of the road.
The next day, as I mowed the lawn, I was struck by something. Those piles we created the day before were no longer green. They were brown. Every brightly colored green leaf from those branches was brown and brittle. It took all but a day to show that there was no longer life in those branches. It was incredible to see and it took me directly to John 15, where Jesus said,
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8 CSB)
Now, I know Jesus is talking about vines, branches, and the fruit that they bear. We are dealing with large trees and the limbs that grew from them and these were not fruit-bearing trees. But the point remains. The branch MUST stay connected to the source of life in order to live. It MUST stay connected to the source of life in order to bear fruit, or, in my tree’s case, just leaves. You’ve got the picture in your mind though, don’t you. If a branch is broken or cut off from the vine or tree, it is no longer receiving what it needs to live, grow, and bear fruit. If a branch is disconnected from its life source, it is going to die. Every time. And, as I saw that giant pile of brown leaves, I was reminded that it doesn’t take long for death to set in when disconnected from life.
You know where I’m going with this. Are you remaining in Jesus? Are you receiving all that He has to give you? Are you receiving His life? Are you being sustained by Him? Are you utterly dependant on Him? Or, are you doing this life on your own? Have you chosen to do your own thing, live how you want, and try to make it without Him? If so, picture that pile of dead leaves and branches that had been removed from their source of life.
How will you respond to Jesus’ words in John 15 today? Will you remain in Him? Continue to receive? Invite others to join you in the incredible eternity that Christ has given you? Will you allow Him to bear fruit in your life as you cling to Him? Or, maybe your response is a return. Is it time to come back to Him? He has invited you to respond and repent. Allow Him to do a work in and through you, giving you life that only He can provide.
The branch that remains connected to the vine, thrives. It grows. It receives all that it needs to bear fruit. The life that remains in Jesus, thrives. It grows. It receives all that it needs to bear fruit. Remain in Jesus and receive the glorious life He has to offer now, and for eternity!
Tyler Quillet is the Discipleship Strategist for the Custom Bible Study team at LifeWay Christian Resources. He lives in the Nashville, TN, area with his incredible wife, Cathie, and two boys, Cylas and Bowen. Tyler also speaks, writes, and coaches alongside Cathie as they pour into and love on the infertile community through Cathie’s “The Missing Peace Project”. Tyler previously spent 15 years as a pastor and is passionate about serving churches and pouring into church leaders in a variety of ways.