Dead or Alive

Jesus said, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” (John 15:5-7 AMP)

I have never been much of a gardener. In fact, growing up, the only kind of gardening we did was a yearly pulling of weeds in our front and back yards. It always amazed me how there could be so many weeds to pull every year and how they would grow so wildly everywhere. Needless to say, our garden was dead and pulling weeds was a chore my siblings and I disliked; however, this experience often reminds me of Proverbs 24:30-34 (AMP),

“I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man lacking understanding and common sense; And, behold, it was all overgrown with thorns, And nettles were covering its surface, And its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I considered it well; I looked and received instruction. “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest [and daydream],” Then your poverty will come as a robber, And your want like an armed man.”

Yearly pulling of weeds and overgrown gardens could perhaps be likened to our spiritual lives. How often do we wait until circumstances are bad before we get serious about prayer, fasting, worship, or Bible reading? For some of us, its not that we intended to neglect our walk with God, it just happened because of other things that took precedence or importance. We wonder why we are worried all the time, frustrated, maybe scared, overwhelmed, or feeling spiritually weak. As written by King Solomon, our “poverty will come as a robber, And [our] want like an armed man”, all because we did not realize we lacked “understanding and common sense”. It’s possible King Solomon was simply referring to the practical reality of monetary poverty due to laziness, but the same conclusion could be made with reference to our spiritual poverty due to daily negligence.

Later in Proverbs 27:18 (AMP), King Solomon writes, “He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit, And he who faithfully protects and cares for his master will be honored.” Here we clearly see that the fruitfulness of a tree or garden requires tending, faithful protection and care. Just as we care for our physical, emotional, and mental needs, we ought to pay even more attention to our spiritual needs. When Jesus said, He is the vine and we are the branches, and that we ought to remain in Him in order to be alive and fruitful, He was talking about our spiritual health. For a branch to remain connected to the vine, daily tending, protection and care are vital. For us to remain connected to Jesus, our source of life, love, joy, peace, and power, we come to Him daily in prayer, praise, worship, and devotion.

As our church goes into 21 days of prayer and fasting from October 1 to 21, let us be reminded of who our source of everything we need is – Jesus – apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Let us hunger for a strong spiritual well-being, that we may be fruitful and effective in our daily lives. Finally, let us deeply desire God’s Word in our hearts and a more intimate connection with Him, that we may know His voice better and walk in obedience to it. As our hearts and minds align with Jesus, we can confidently ask for whatever we desire and know that it will be given to us. Let us stand together in faith for what God can do in our nation, our cities, our church and our personal lives!