Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)
Sometimes life is a struggle. You may feel like you have to fight in order to stay alive, while at other times you may feel like you need to escape in order to stay safe. In either case, it’s easy to lose your focus on what is really important, and what you are called to do as a believer in Jesus of Nazareth.
The primary directive for you is to simply remain connected to Jesus. Staying connected with Him means pursuing Him with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It means resting in Him when you feel weak, and leaning on Him when you have no strength. As a branch, you are called to be complete in Him, for you will learn that you can do nothing apart from Him, but rather with Him you can do all things.
The fruit that He bears in you is His fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When you choose to separate yourself from Him, then His life dries up, and you feel depleted. However, when you return to Him and remain with Him, then you realize how dependent you are on Jesus, and you wonder why you ever thought you could live your life apart from Him.
Your Heavenly Father prunes your branch. He lifts you up and cleans you off when you go astray, and you return to Him in repentance. He bears the image of His Son in and through you, for you were called to be conformed to His image. He gently cares for you as His own child and nurtures you as the vinedresser. His love is always made known to you, and through you, as you obey His Son, and follow in His ways.
You must abide in Jesus if you are to bear fruit, for that is the purpose of every branch in Him. The fruit gives glory to the Father, as it bears witness of the life of the Son. For everyone can taste and see that God is good, and His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control is what remains in every believer who trusts, rests, and remains in the true vine.
So, return to Jesus, if your life feels depleted. Make Him your dwelling place. Learn to soak in His presence, remain in His care, and be strengthened by His life. As you feel nourished, spend time with Him in worship. As you share your burdens, leave room to listen for His voice. Your union with Him will strengthen your fellowship, for He sees your heart, and He longs to become intimately acquainted with you.
I chose to remain in you. Forgive me for going astray, for apart from you I am nothing, and I can bear no fruit without you. May my life be tended by my Father in Heaven, as the vinedresser, so that He can lift me up, clean me off, and help me to experience the abundance of your life. Let my branch bear good fruit, as a witness of your mercy and grace. You have saved me by faith, and I trust you to present me whole and blameless before my Father in Heaven. May the fruit of your Spirit in my life bring glory to your name. Amen.