Jesus said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.” I’ve found that I can do jack squat without Jesus. I don’t make any progress in the right direction without being connected to him. Sadly however, that doesn’t stop me from still attempting to accomplish things in my own strength. Maybe it’s my sinful humanity that wants to do it on my own so that I get some credit? Or the enemy is working hard to distract and disconnect me? Or I simply forget and wander? Or maybe my laziness and busyness get in the way of spending good time with him? It’s probably “all of the above.”
I find myself choosing the vase over the vine sometimes. I start making decisions that reflect a belief that I’m wasting valuable time connecting that I could be using for producing. I slowly and usually unknowingly start pulling away and stick my stem in the nice little vase that sits in the center of the table, displays my beauty and allows people to catch a whiff. I fool myself believing that the water in vase is going to sustain me. It’s deceiving because for a while I don’t see or feel much difference. I still look good and am reaping some of the life I was getting from my time in the vine. I may even be pumping out a few more good pieces of fruit on my fumes. But in reality, I’m dying in here. And I finally start realizing it when my pedals start wilting and my stem starts leaning. And then I notice that what little I’m producing is actually manufactured and counterfeit fruit that’s not very good.
And what’s probably even more stupid than disconnecting from him in the first place is when I don’t immediately run back to him when I realize I’ve done this. Instead I feel guilty for falling for this again and so I stay put and wither for a while which makes it even more difficult to reconnect when I finally decide to. But I’m so grateful that Jesus lovingly welcomes us back in no matter what condition we’re in or how long we’ve been distancing ourselves from him. However, I do think He hopes that we learn our lesson. Simply because He loves us and wants the best for us. He wants us to experience a full life and to use us to connect others so they can experience the same.
I’m convinced that when I spend good time with Jesus, I get to know and trust him more. And as I trust him more, I follow him more closely and put myself in position to experience his life and be a part of producing much and lasting fruit for his Kingdom.
So don’t settle for the vase over the vine.