“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit because you can do nothing without me.” – John 15:5
Before we get started, we’re going to play a quick game. I want everyone to stand up and pick a partner, then stand back-to-back and link arms. Once everyone is linked, I will say, “Go,” and your goal is to try to sit down and stand back up as quickly as you can while keeping your arms linked. (Play a few rounds and switch partners if you would like after a round or two.)
Was that hard or easy? Why was it hard? Right, you had to work together. You couldn’t just do it on your own; you had to work as a team. Once you and your partner decided how to work with each other, it became easy. You saw how the other person could help you get up without using your hands, right?
Well, today, we are going to talk about how much better it is to go through life connected to Christ rather than apart from Him.
What do you think would happen if, in our next game, we went up against the other team with just one player? (Take answers.) Yeah, it probably wouldn’t work out well. As a team, we are much better together than we are on our own. Each one of you has specific skills and talents that help make this team better. If we only had one set of skills, we wouldn’t be able to do much good.
Just like we are better together on our sports team, that also applies to our life with God. Close your eyes and think of a large tree. Picture the trunk, the branches, and the leaves. Now open your eyes. I bet you pictured the trunk, branches, and leaves all connected. Each part of the tree must be connected to the other, or it will die. If you remove a leaf, it dries up. If you cut off a branch, the wood dies.
Jesus uses the image of a tree to show us how important it is to stay connected to Him. He says in John that if we are connected, we will see a lot of fruit in our life. Jesus doesn’t mean actual fruit like grapes. He means that we can produce a lot of good things in this world. Apart from Him, we won’t. If we choose to be separated from Him, we’ll be like a branch cut off from a tree. The tree represents God, and the branches represent us. For us to survive and produce fruit, we must stay connected to God.
What does this mean for us? Our goal is to remain a part of the tree – to stay close to God. We can do that by having friends that help us. Just like in the game earlier, when your friend helped you stand up, friends can help us stay close to God. We can read the Bible and talk about it at church. We can pray. We can choose to stay with God because we will do so much better than we ever could on our own!
What can you do this week to remain close to God?
“Lord God, how great You are! Thank You for providing a way for us to do great things in this world. Please help us to remain close to You because, without You, we cannot produce the fruit You desire for us. Guide us this week to be better branches of Your tree and to love others better. Amen.”