The Source of Lasting Change

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. –John 15:4-5

The story has been told of a Minnesota man who retired. Seeking change, he moved to Florida where he would escape the cold winters, relax and live out his years in a warm and sunny climate. He spent his days going to the beach and laying under the sun. Six months after he moved to Florida, the man died. His body was shipped back to Minnesota for the funeral. His friends attended the funeral and stood in front of the open casket.They stood there for a moment, and then one friend remarked, “Whoa! Florida sure did him good!”

The man had tanned considerably while in Florida, but the point is, he was still dead. Florida was the source of the man’s change, but what good is that change now?

We too hope for change. Maybe it’s the hope of moving to Florida someday. Perhaps, for you, cosmetic surgery is the answer. Or, maybe it’s a bigger home, a better job, a more attractive spouse or whatever else it is that you think you need. You may pursue this type of change, but once you get it, if you don’t have the real and lasting source of change, you’ll end up empty and searching for the next best thing in your pursuit of fulfillment.

In today’s Scripture passage, we read about the real source of meaningful and lasting change, Jesus. He tells us that He is the vine, and we are the branches. Only in our connection to Him will we find fulfilling change. Only in our connection to Him will we bear lasting fruit.

We’re all connected to some vine. To what vine are you connected? Is it Jesus? Or, is it the vine of the world? No matter what, you’re going to produce the fruit of the vine to which you are connected. So the question is, what kind of fruit are you producing? If you are connected to the vine of the world, you are going to produce bitter fruit that comes from your selfish old nature. If you are connected to the vine of Christ, you are going to produce fruit that comes from being connected to Jesus and the Spirit of God.

The most contented people I know are not the ones with the golden tans, the coolest cars, the biggest houses, the most attractive spouses, or the most perfect bodies. Instead, they are the people whose lives are marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. What’s the secret to their contentment and fulfillment in life? They are people who are connected to Jesus, the only source of lasting change.

GOING DEEPER:
1. What type of fruit is your life producing?

2. To what vine would your closest friends say you are connected, the vine of Christ or the vine of the world? Why would they answer this way?

FURTHER READING:
John 15:8; Galatians 5:19-23; Matthew 7:16-19

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields

Doug is the senior director of HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Doug speaks to thousands of leaders, teens and parents each year. Doug provides leadership and resources as a part of the Youth Specialties Team. He has authored 50 books and blogs at Download Youth Ministry. Doug, Cathy and their three children live in Southern California.

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    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

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    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

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