Productivity is a top priority within our culture. We want to get as many things done as we can as efficiently as we can. The Apple App store even has a devoted sub category specifically called “Get Stuff Done.” You can find tons of different apps from to-do lists to reminders that can help you organize and complete the tasks on life’s to-do list. But what makes it onto our to-do lists?
At youth group on Wednesday nights we’ve been looking at what Jesus says with regards to our Identity in him. One of the areas we looked at was that we are branches connected to the vine that is Christ. I love that Jesus uses this illustration because there is so much with plants that relates to us and our relationship with Christ.
In John 15 Jesus contrasts branches that bear fruit and don’t bear fruit. If you want a plant to flourish you need to cut away or prune what is essentially dead or unfruitful so the that the area that is bearing fruit may produce more fruit and richer fruit. The same principle applies to our lives today. If we want to bear fruit and declare and demonstrate Jesus to the world we need to prune some of the things that steel our attention away from seeing and savoring Jesus. What idols need to be cut off with some pruning shears? What dead branches are preventing fruitful growth? Are we pruning the right things?
Branches Need to Stay Connected to the Vine
Jesus says in John 15:5, “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.” What is Jesus saying? In order to bear fruit we need to abide or as the NIV translates it “remain” in him. In other words we need stay connected to him. If you pull a branch off a tree does it continue to bear fruit? Not at all. It dries up and becomes fire wood. We fill our to-do lists with so many items to get done, but often time those things are not the things that will foster a connection between us and Jesus. Does prayer make it to our lists? Does spending the time in Scripture make it to our lists? Does spending time in community with believers make it to our list?
The branches that experience the most growth are the ones who are receiving the greatest amount of nutrients from the vine. The more time we spend reading the bible, reflecting on the gospel, and responding in prayer the closer we’re going to become to Christ and the more we are going to grow in our faith. The more we grow in our faith, the more fruit we will bear as the Spirit works in us. The more fruit we bear the more we impact those we come in contact with as we live on mission.
What is taking priority on our to-do lists?