I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5
A while ago I sat and listened to my pastor and friend Mark Simpson teach out of John 15 about Jesus being the vine I couldn’t help but think about something that happened a few years ago.
I believe it was when Alexa was just over a year old. She came down with a virus that led to her throwing up and as a result she stopped eating and drinking. No matter what we did she wouldn’t eat or drink. This didn’t go on very long when see became very lethargic and her body just started to shut down. We got in the car and headed to the ER because we weren’t sure what was going on and we were scared. At the hospital we learned that she was dehydrated and that things could have gotten much worse if we hadn’t gotten her to the hospital. They quickly got an IV in her and began pumping fluids. Before too long she was reenergized and ready to head home. Amy and I look back on this and are so thankful for God’s grace and protection in Alexa’s life.
Followers of Christ are to abide in Him so that we might receive His grace and His strength so that we might bear fruit and be sanctified. If we do not abide in Christ, remain connected to the vine we will stop bearing fruit and essentially shrivel up and die. At these times followers of Christ become vulnerable to bitterness and apathy that will draw them further away from the Lord.
As Alexa’s parents we could provide her food and nourishment but she rejected it because of the virus that was attacking her. She lost energy and eventually could have died. As her parents we didn’t let that happen instead we took her to the hospital where they inserted an IV that provided the nourishment that she needed. She got her energy back and was quickly back to full health.
God has called His children to live in community, to be connected to the body, His church. Alexa’s story in addition to Jesus being the vine helps us see why. At times as we are pruned by God or attack by the evil one we begin to want to run from God and the church. We lose connection to Christ and begin to spiritually shrivel. When we have the church in our life and they respond as they are called to respond then they will stick the IV in the child and help it receive the nourishment it needs. When we run the encouragement and prayers of the church can help us walk through the viruses that come into our lives. They will come and church is to help you walk through those times.
Friends abide in Christ and stay in fellowship with the church so that they may help you stay healthy in Christ. At times we all need a spiritual IV.
Your Turn: How has the church best helped you grow in Christ?