Last winter, we experienced an unusual ice storm in our area.  I lost several plants around my home, but several survived in various percentages.  As spring and summer unfolded, it was easier to assess the damage.  The bright green colors of springtime contrasted dramatically with the portions of trees and bushes that were dry, brittle, and lifeless.  The first heavy rain or strong wind would remove those dead branches from the plant naturally.

This natural process is also true of our spiritual life in Jesus.  He is the Vine and we are the branches of that Vine.  The words of Jesus in John 15:6 describe this spiritual attrition.  It says that a person who does not dwell in Him or who does not remain in a life-giving connection with Him (like a branch to a vine or tree), will be cast off or thrown out from the living plant.  If we look at the example of nature, the tree or vine does not remove that branch, but the pressure of the environment makes it fall away.  The pressure or weight of heavy wind or a squirrel or bird will make the branch fall away from the tree.  

God is always in faith concerning His children.  He always believes the best about us and has faith that we will continue in Him and even if we fail, He believes that we will return to Him and be restored.  He never gives up on His children.  He never casts a fruitless branch away from the Vine on purpose.  It is the choice of the branch to remain lifeless and fruitless that creates the weakened condition that allows the pressures of life (squirrels and birds) to make the branch fall away and wither.

In the natural setting, those dry, dead branches are collected and removed as trash or mulched in a lawnmower.  In the spiritual environment, however, there is always a way to reconnect with the Vine, allowing His life to flow back into “dead” areas, reviving what seemed lost and fruitless.  It is never too late to turn our attentions to Jesus and drink in His word, letting His life flow into every part of our being.  Connected to the Life Source, the Vine, Jesus, we can do all things.

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