Vines and Branches

Good morning from Westminster, MD!

Reading through one of my favorite passages in the Bible over the past couple of weeks has reminded me that there is only one source of true life. In John’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry he records these words of Jesus – “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.” (John 15:5, NIV 1984) In this verse and the verses surrounding it, Jesus paints a great picture of a vine and its branches. In it he speaks of how the branches need to be connected to the vine as it is their source of life. In other words, apart from the vine the branches will eventually die. He also says that there is only one true vine that provides the real life for which the branches are looking. As a branch looking for life, I have found this to be very true.

Over the course of my life, I have encountered many “vines” that claim to offer life. They have come in the form of relationships, professional opportunities, social activities, and even sports. Unfortunately, I have found that all of these things are only short-term solutions to my search for life. They each provide momentary joy and fulfillment, but in the end fall short of providing what is really need to live a joyful and fulfilled life. This is where the true vine comes in. As creations of God, we were meant to find life in and be connected to one true vine – Jesus. By remaining in Jesus, I have found the real life that so many other things promise, but can never provide. The reality is that many of these “vines” are not inherently bad – they exist for our enjoyment. The problem comes when we try to use them to provide the true life that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

As I have said in other posts, I am definitely still a work in progress when it comes to this. There are days when I find myself drifting towards vines instead of remaining in the true vine. Often it is in these moments that I most understand the truths found in John 15. If I want real life, I must remain in the true vine. My prayer is to live as if that is true a little more each day. I hope the same is true of you. 

– James Belt

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