Monday, January 23, 2023
By Preston Canter, Journey Middle School Student
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” – John 15:1-8 (The words of Jesus)
In these verses, we find Jesus teaching. He uses a figure of speech in which He identifies Himself as a vine and people as branches. Through the metaphor, Jesus is explaining the importance of being connected to the Source so that we can produce “fruit” and be effective disciples.
When we are connected to Jesus, we produce “fruit” that characterizes our faith and us as disciples. This “fruit” that Jesus is referring to is the “Fruit of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23) However, when we are connected to the world, we see that we produce fruit that resembles the world. (Galatians 5:19-21) The world produces selfishness, while Jesus produces generosity. The world produces harshness, while Jesus produces gentleness. The world produces impatience, while Jesus produces patience.
These verses in John 15 challenge me to devote myself to living daily for Jesus so I produce the Fruit of the Spirit. Just as a branch depends on a vine for its source of life, I must depend on Christ as my Source for life and salvation. This passage reminds me that I am incapable of living for Christ and producing the Fruit of the Spirit if I am not connected to Christ.
“God, I want to have a life that produces the Fruit of the Spirit and not the fruit of the world. Please help me to remain connected to you as my Source even when life tries to distract me away from you. Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.