by Rick Warren — December 8, 2016
Right before Jesus goes to the cross, he gives his last minute instructions to his followers: “Live in me, and I will live in you. A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself. It has to stay attached to the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit unless you live in me” (John 15:4 GW).
Jesus says that being spiritually connected is like being attached to a vine. You’re not going to have any fruitfulness or productivity in your life if you’re out there on your own. You’ve got to stay connected.
In plants, a disconnected branch can’t bear fruit. Not only do you lack support and start to wither and die, but you also don’t have any productivity in your life if you’re not spiritually connected.
I grow a lot of vegetables and fruit every spring. If I cut off a branch, those branches aren’t going to produce any tomatoes or anything else. They’ve got to be connected in order to produce fruit.
What kind of fruit should you produce when you are connected to the Body of Christ? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” (Galatians 5:22-23a NIV).
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to be more loving. I’d like to be more joyful. I’d like to be more at peace, no matter what happens to the economy. I’d like to be more kind to people who are mean to me. I’d like to be a good person. I want to be faithful, not unfaithful. I want to keep my promises. I’d like to be gentle with people who are not very gentle. And I’d like to have more self-control.
That’s called the fruit of the Spirit, and it’s the evidence that you are spiritually connected. If you are not seeing yourself grow in all these things, guess what? It means you’re not spiritually connected.
He’s saying this is so important that not only do you need the support like in a building, and not only do you need the life blood like being in a body—he’s saying you’re not going to have any fruitfulness or any productivity in your life if you’re out there on your own. You’ve got to stay connected. And the Good News is that God wants you to be connected! God is for you!