When I was in confirmation many moons ago, our Pastor would choose confirmation verses for the students. I don’t remember much about the process other than receiving the verse shortly before confirmation Sunday. I’m not certain I really understood the significance of a confirmation verse at the time. I ended up with John 15:5, our “I Am” statement for this week:
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 (ESV)
Over the years, this verse became increasingly dear to me. It is comforting to know that my “success” or “fruit” as a Christian depends not on me, but Jesus. I am but a branch connected to the life-giving vine. As long as I remain connected to Him, the fruit will naturally come.
As I reflect on Jesus as the true Vine, I’m struck by the significance of this. Not only is the fruit I bear a result of Him, indeed my entire life is sustained by Jesus. Branches that get separated from the vine immediately start dying. Cut off from their source of nutrients, the branches will slowly whither and dry up, until they’re of no use for bearing fruit.
So it is with our very lives. It seems so easy to get “cut off” from the Vine. Life “happens” and we get busy, slowly drifting away from the Vine. We face trials and tribulations and wonder why God is not intervening, so we walk away from the Vine. We’re hurt in some way, and turn our backs on the true Vine.
Like branches, once you disconnect from the Vine, you start dying. There is no life outside of Jesus. But thanks be to God, the true Vine never gives up on us or forsakes us. He is calling us back to Himself every day. No matter how dried, dead, or decayed the branch has become, reconnecting to the Vine will bring life again. Jesus is indeed our Vine, our only source of life. So let’s stay connected—or get reconnected—and receive life in His name.