DEVOTION FOR FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017
In 2003, a widespread power outage hit states from Massachusetts to Michigan, affecting some 45 million Americans. Attributed in part to a software glitch, the blackout lasted for up to a week in some places. New York City alone had sixty fires in the first 24 hours of the blackout, largely caused by the use of candles.
Being disconnected from electricity is stressful, but being disconnected spiritually has even more devastating results. In our passage today, Jesus reminded His disciples to remain deeply connected to Him and to one another.
Jesus is the “true vine,” and His Father is the gardener. (v. 1). The Father prunes each branch to ensure that those that remain will be fruitful. Here we see the divine providence of God as He shapes and directs us. When we remain connected to Him, we thrive and bear fruit. Without Him, we accomplish nothing (v. 5). Notice that we are not the gardeners—we are not commanded to prune but rather to abide in Christ. The minute we disconnect from Him, we become disabled. Whatever we accomplish is for God’s glory alone; He is our source of life (v. 8).
To stay connected to Jesus means following His command to love one another. This was not the first time Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another (see 13:34). The true test of followers of God is whether they practice sacrificial love, following the example of Jesus (v. 13).
Finally, Jesus elevates our status from servants to friends (vv. 14–15). We are now involved in His business, we share His concerns, and we have a special mission on His behalf. The fruit of love in our lives is evidence of God’s work to prune and shape us into branches that bring Him glory.
APPLY THE WORD
How do you stay connected to Jesus? Perhaps reading this devotional and God’s Word each day strengthens your commitment to Him. Time in prayer, even short prayers as we go about our day, keeps our attention on the Lord. Listening to worship music and taking time to serve others are ways we can abide and rest in Jesus.
Today in the Word is a production of Moody Global Ministries