I have a story to tell you. It’s the scariest horror story and, simultaneously, the greatest love story. I’m not talking about ghosts falling in love. No, I’m talking about a garden.
We’re all little branches in a big, beautiful garden. It’s our job to grow fruit to please the Gardener.
A day is coming, however, when the Gardener will cut off the fruitless branches—the diseased, dead, good-for-nothing twigs.
“If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned”(John 15:6).
It’s scary to think about the judgment that is coming—about the branches thrown into the fire. The Bible is filled with examples of people meeting God’s wrath, like a flooded Earth, a pillar of salt, a plethora of plagues, and people dropping dead. That day is coming for us, too. This begs the question, are you living in a manner that is consistent with your calling to be holy, to bear good fruit?
I have good news for you, Little Branch. There is a Vine who is crazy about you. His job is to keep you close, to hem you in, to wrap around you, and cover you in grace. This Vine is Jesus, and he says:
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).
I took this picture of a vine in my sister’s backyard. Look at the way it twists, turns, and loop-de-loops to seek out and envelop a branch. The love Jesus has for you is the same. It’s reckless and unrelenting. It’s the well that never runs dry, the shepherd that leaves the ninety-nine to rescue the one, and the blood-stained body on the cross.
The same Jesus who first told us to “Come,” also tells us to “Abide.” To remain. To stay. To obey.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (John 15:10a).
Discussion & Reflection Questions:
- As the old hymn says, are you ready for judgment day? Are you bearing good fruit?
- What commands do you struggle to obey? Where in your life do you need a good pruning?
- How has Jesus’ love changed your life?