My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
We must be connected to Jesus, the Vine, if our lives are to be spiritually fruitful. He is our source of strength, sustenance, authority, and power. Paul exemplifies a man who drew from the Living Vine. He also exemplifies a man who was connected to others as an outflow of his relationship with Christ. In Acts 22, we read about the other believers who treasured His friendship and valued His life. In Acts 22 and 23, we see Paul attempt to connect with his fellow Jews as he calls them “brothers.” He showed respect to the “rulers of the people” (Acts 23:5) and sought to bring unity to all people through the gift of God’s love and salvation. Some chose to connect with him and others chose to defy him. So it is with us as we relate to people around us.
Who are the people that God has brought into your life – your spouse, children, friends, family members? Examine those relationships and take each one to prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you. Seek first to be intimately connected to Jesus, and He will cause those relationships to thrive. I know when I have heeded God’s Word to “remain in Him” because I see the fruit of my obedience in my relationships with others: Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.
As you go through your week, seek a connection with the Lord and with others. You will see the fruit of honesty, vulnerability, truthfulness and compassion in your relationships because this is the character of Christ in you, the connection seen between the vine and the branch.
Your Word says to seek Your kingdom and righteousness first. (Matthew 6:33) It is the desire of my heart to seek You above all other relationships. As the vine is connected to the branches, help me to reflect this connection of my life in Christ to others.
In Jesus’ name, Amen