By Bob Zoellner

Just as a tree can only stay healthy based on where it’s planted and how it’s taken care of, so it is with the health of a believer in Christ. We are only mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy if we remain in an atmosphere conducive to that growth and stability.

The branches of a tree produce fruit and must stay attached to the main part of the tree to flourish, much less stay alive. The branch cannot live apart from the trunk or vine, getting its nourishment and very life from the connectedness to the life-giving part of the tree.

The Christian must remain attached to or in Christ to remain in the right relationship with the Father. There is no other way to remain ready to face the storms of life that inevitably come our way. If we are not ‘in Christ,’ we have lost our nourishment, our strength, our every life.

Jesus said in John 15, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener … 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 produce fruit unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine and 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 … When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. You are my friends if you do what I command,” (see John 15:1-17).

The demands of life do not ever go away. We can get overwhelmed sometimes, and retreat from those around us just to stop the ‘craziness.’ But that never solves anything long-term. We get stuck in a rut, or simply lose our focus. We become unproductive and no longer produce fruit in our lives. If we remain in Christ, though, we allow Him to cut away the unproductive branches, prune the fruit-bearing branches, and become even more productive in our relationship with Him, (John 15:2).

We were created to produce fruit as believers, and that only happens when we stay connected to the life-giving nourishment of the vine. Jesus is the true vine. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

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