Called to Connect

It was late Thursday evening. Jesus and the disciples were making their way to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, knowing that His crucifixion was at hand. Passing by the temple, they saw a huge golden grapevine carved over the entrance. Jesus offered words of commission and comfort to His disciples…

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”  —John 15:1-8 (NASB)

So how does one abide in Christ? Jesus gives us two approaches in John 15:7. First, He says, “My words abide in you.” For Christ followers today, this is done by reading, studying, meditating, and memorizing God’s Word. Second, He tells us, “Ask what you will.” This reference is to communication with God, which is best done through the disciplines of prayer, journaling, fasting, and solitude and silence.

Beginning with simply reading God’s Word and talking with Him in prayer, these spiritual practices form the foundation of abiding in Christ. By developing habits in the deeper disciplines, we remain connected to Christ and therefore find ourselves connected to the vine where we are in a position to bear much fruit.

Here are five practical and simple suggestions for the journey:

1. Read the Bible daily by following and intentional Bible Reading Strategy.

2. Spend some time in prayer following a prayer guide.

3. Memorize Scripture by copying a memory verse onto an index card or sticky note and place it on your desk at work, the dashboard of your car, or on your bathroom mirror.

4. Start a new journal recording things you are learning, feeling, and doing on your journey to be like Jesus.

5. Ask someone to be your spiritual friend. Meet them for coffee or lunch to talk about ways they stay connected to Jesus and what do they see Him doing in their lives.