Deep Connection March 28-April 1

Jesus gives us a brilliant picture of what it looks like when people on earth live in abiding trust and dependence on an unseen God who is in heaven. The image of a vineyard overflowing with grapes is the metaphor Jesus chooses to talk about how His disciples must depend on Him.  Dependence is the fruit of trust. Do you trust Jesus enough to surrender to Him as Lord? If Jesus is Lord, what kind of pruning needs to happen in your life? Are you bearing kingdom fruit, or is it fruit that doesn’t require your dependence on Jesus?  Jesus is teaching that abounding in Him is not about life enhancement, but that it is life support.

Day 1      John 15:1-5

Reflect: What do you learn about who God is, who Jesus is, and who you are? What is Jesus calling His disciples to do and what results from doing it? From not doing it?

Apply:    Explain how these words are embedded in this text: abide, rest, grow, nurture, serve, dependence, accountability, judgment. Which speak loudest to you?

Pray:       Lord, I cannot bear fruit by myself—I must remain in You! Help me to grow in Your ways, rooted in Your love so the fruit that I bear gives glory to You.

Day 2      John 15:5-8

Reflect:  What kind of fruit do you think Jesus is referring to in this text? Why is it so important that Christ followers be fruit bearing?  What blessings come from remaining in Christ?

Apply:    What does it look like for someone to “abide in Jesus?” How are you abiding? What do you think Jesus means in verse 6? (Keep in mind that He is talking to His followers.)

Pray:       Lord, align my thoughts and heart that I may have the very mind of Christ to live Your way in this world.

Day 3      John 16:9-15

Reflect:  What is the fruit of remaining in Jesus’ love? Why? What does it mean to go from a servant to becoming Jesus’ friend? How do we benefit? To what kind of love are disciples called?

Apply:    Consider this—you will enjoy your discipleship in proportion to your obedience. In what ways have you found this to be true? How has it impacted you to be called a friend of Jesus?

Pray:       Holy Spirit, spiritually attune my ears to Your voice, open my eyes to see all You want to show me, and help my heart submit to Your truth.

Day 4      John 15:16-17

Reflect:  Why is it so powerful to be chosen? For what purpose did Jesus choose His disciples?

Apply:    How does being chosen and loved by God motivate you to bear abiding fruit? To pray? To love? To surrender more and more to Him?

Pray:      Jesus, You chose me to bear eternal fruit for Your glory! Give me an open heart to do Your work and a vision to see beyond the limitations that can so often distract me.

Day 5      John 15:18-25

Reflect:  What comes with being a chosen servant of God and why? What do you think Jesus means by the world? What caused the people to be guilty of sin (verses 21-25)? Why?

Apply:     Does your life indicate that you are more surrendered to Jesus than to the world? How? When have you felt the world’s pressure to fit in? What resulted?

Pray:       Father, keep me from being squeezed into the world’s mold by the renewing of my mind in the likeness of Jesus. I find rest in Your unfailing love and grace that is sufficient for every situation.

Put It Into Practice

Share your answers to these questions with someone: What is happening in my life because I am abiding in Jesus? Am I bearing actual fruit or is it fruit that is possible without abiding in Christ?  What sprouts need to be pruned in order for me to abide fully and bear fruit?