John 15:3-6 NLT 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.
My husband and I spent this past winter in the southwest United States. It was a windy winter and it was common to notice tumbling tumbleweeds blowing across the desert plains. It was cool to see what was often depicted in western movies. However, the United States Department of Agriculture classifies tumbleweed as a non-native and extremely invasive plant.
A tumbleweed starts out as a plant but once it matures, it detaches from its stem. At that point, it essentially turns into a ball of dead branches that roll in the wind, spreading to other open, windy areas of the country. These rolled up branches contribute to native plant extinction and wildfires.
Yesterday we talked about God pruning our branches so we stay spiritually healthy. That involves cutting back branches to promote growth. However, there are also branches that need to be cut off from the trunk of the plant because they are not producing fruit, which, in turn, can be damaging to the rest of the plant.
Much like that plant, God has to remove branches from one’s vine because they are not bearing spiritual fruit. Although committed to Jesus, some are actually living a less than devoted life far from God and separated from His life-giving power. It is important that our branch remains healthy and continues to grow. We can do that by reading the Bible, praying, attending church, listening to worship music, and staying close to a community of believers. These actions are our spiritual food and water that keep us spiritually alive and growing.
Instead of rolling aimlessly through the desert like the tumbleweed, stay connected to the branch of Jesus and let him nourish you in the direction He has chosen for you.