Tuesday – A Living Connection

By George Volpe

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2

   In 312 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine is said to have converted to Christianity. Whether or not it was sincere or politically motivated we do not know. It did bring rest to an era of horrible Christian persecution. But it also caused an unintended spiritual consequence. Some people declared themselves to be “Christian” who did not know Christ and had no intention of having a sincere relationship with Jesus. They simply saw benefits in joining the religion of the Emperor.

   Pretenders are everywhere. I read a comment from someone who said they wear earphones pretending to be listening to something so that they will not be bothered. Others wrote that they stare at their phones or page through their contacts so they look busy, just to prevent people from engaging them.

   Jesus knows all about pretenders. During His earthly ministry there were many who followed Him for a while pretending to be His disciples. When He showed them He was fully aware of their heart condition they abandoned Him. They never really trusted in Christ. They were never His children.

   Pretending to be a Christian does not make someone a child of God. Jesus used the picture of a living relationship between a vine and its branches to help us understand what He meant when He said “Abide in me, and I in you”. It’s all about our relationship with God. Either we have a living relationship with Jesus, or we do not.

   Just because a branch is attached to a vine on the outside does not mean that there is a living, flowing connection between them on the inside. If the vine is nourishing the branch, there will be life and growth, and visible evidence of it will appear.   

   A branch that has no living connection to the vine is not being nourished. It is dead. It is hanging on to the vine, and externally it may look like the other branches for a while. We might say it is not really depending on the vine. It may hang on for a while without any discernable growth or change. In time, it will either fall off, or someone will cut it off. The branch that has no living connection to the vine cannot continue “in” the vine. It can neither grow nor bear fruit. It becomes firewood.

   True Christians have an authentic, living, breathing communion with Jesus. We depend on Him for all of our physical and spiritual life and nourishment. We are truly connected to Jesus and trusting in Him. We are secure in the knowledge that He who has begun a good work in us will be faithful to complete it for His glory.

Read John 15:1-16.

Bible Reading Plan - Day 52

Luke 13

Ps 44:11–26

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