- By Michael Sitko
"throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles us, let us keep running with endurance the race set before us, fixing our attention on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of the faith…” Heb 12:1,2;
Tucked away in the 15th chapter of the book of John is a beautiful little truth revealed by Jesus to His followers. Jesus began to talk to them about the power of connection. In the day and age in which we live there are a lot of distractions out there and so many things are vying for our time and attention. So many competing interests and worthy causes. One of the principles of the Kingdom of God is the truth that what we focus on in our lives, we make room for and what we make room for will ultimately produce fruit in our lives.
Jesus uses the illustration of a grape vine to teach His disciples a kingdom truth that had the power to revolutionize their lives if they allowed it. Jesus used the illustration of the nature of their relationship and connection to Him in terms of plant biology. Jesus said I am the vine and you are the branches and my Father is the Gardner. He goes on to explain that the unique relationship between the vine and the branches naturally produces fruit, if the attention of the branch is in the right place. You see in nature. a branch inherently has the power and capability built within itself to produce fruit. God created it that way, just as He did us. If a branches focus is on maintaining its connection to the root from which it draws all of the nutrients and the sustenance needed for strength, health and vitality then it will naturally produce and bear fruit. if however the branch becomes focused on things other than drawing from the root it begins to loose its fruit production capability.
It’s much the same way for us. God created us and our divine design was to live out the life of Jesus as a son or daughter of God. We are naturally wired by God to produce fruit based upon the focus and attention in our lives. If our focus is on Christ and we are focused in and drawing from our relationship with Him on a daily or even a moment by moment basis at times, we will ultimately produce a harvest of fruit that looks and tastes like the character and nature of Jesus. If however, we become focused on the multitude of distractions around us, then we simply will stop producing fruit in keeping with the nature of Jesus and start producing fruit consistent with whatever else we choose to feed ourselves on.
Jesus goes on to share that the Father, as the Gardner, comes along doing a fruit and a health check on the branches and when he finds a branch that isn’t producing fruit He cuts it off removing it from the vine so that it will not continue to draw strength and sustenance away from the other branches that could utilize that strength to produce more fruit. He also focuses on the branches that look a little light on fruit but appear as though they have the strength to bear more fruit than they currently are and carefully, He cuts back those branches so that they gain the ability to grow stronger and to produce even more fruit then they currently are.
Lets take a little inventory today on our hearts with the Holy Spirit and evaluate where our time, attention and focus is being spent. Is the majority of it being used to focus on the life giving connection and power that could potentially be released from connection with Jesus or is it distracted, distant and losing ground. Remember you were created by God to be fruitful and you will produce fruit, but whether that is good fruit or not depends on whether our focus is on our connection to Jesus, the vine, or if it is largely focused on other things.