Have you ever been to an apple orchard in the fall? During the spring, the branches blossom with beautiful white flowers. In the summer, the apples begin to grow, and by September or October the branches of the apple tree are laden with ripe, crisp fruit. If you take a closer look at an apple tree, you’ll notice how the fruit is attached to the branch and the branch is sutured to the trunk. But imagine that you took a pair of clippers and snipped off the branch. If that branch were lying on the ground, would it still blossom? No. Why? Because the branch was dependent on the rest of the tree.
This makes it easy to understand what Jesus really meant when he spoke of Himself as the vine and of Christians as the branches. We won’t bear “fruit” unless we remain in Him. But it’s not only our bearing of fruit for which we are dependent on Him — we are dependent on the Lord even for our very lives. Without Him, we would never have drawn a single breath.
Our complete and utter reliance on Christ isn’t a bad thing. It might feel scary, but after all, God certainly knows better than we do. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). He can see the big picture. We must accept our dependence on Him, trust Him, and remain in Him. Yes, as the verse today states, apart from Him we can do nothing — but with Him, we can do great things.
Lord, make me aware of our dependence on You; remind me that You have given me the very breath in my lungs, and that I would not be physically or spiritually alive without You. Being completely dependent can feel scary, but I trust You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Go Deeper — Walk into your garden or visit a nearby apple orchard. Look closely at how the branches of different plants are connected to — and dependent on — the vines and tree trunks. Notice the beauty of the plants and remember that your state of dependence can be beautiful as well.
Photo Credit: Steven Van Loy