Change and decay in all around I see
O Thou who changest not, abide with me
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (Jn. 15:4)
Though some branches may appear to be connected to the vine at the beginning of the season, they become dry and unfruitful, weakened by the weather, lack of nourishment, and weak connection to the vine. They have closed off from their source, no longer receiving sustenance and nourishment from it. In the same way, it is impossible for anyone who does not abide in Christ to bear the fruit of the spirit. Though some start out connected to Christ, they dry up when the storms of life come. Whether those storms be squalls or tsunamis, they will come and they will separate the healthy from the unhealthy. The fruit of the vine is crushed, squeezed underfoot, and pressed through a sieve separating the juice from the fiber. Only then does it become what it was meant to be. In all seasons of life, there will be times of discouragement when it appears that turning one’s affections to their own desires and disconnecting from the Lord would prove most beneficial. In these seasons, the poorly rooted Christian turns to himself and the world for nourishment, disregarding his need for the life-giving blood and water that flow from Jesus. He dries up.
When branches dry up, they fall from the tree and are taken away. They are of no use to the tree for they no longer receive sustenance from it. They must be removed so they do not take up nourishment from the growing, healthy branches. When not connected to Christ, we too, will wither away. The loud enticements of the world will lead us astray. We will put aside our former desire for Jesus as we embark on a rocky road, following our own passions and desires. We may flourish for a season in work and in life, but the time will come when our devotion, our reputation, our hopes, and our comforts will wither for we are now bearing the fruit of the flesh—adultery, uncleanness, idolatry, hatred, contentions, drunkenness, and selfish ambitions.
When you abide in Jesus, you bear the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control. Are you thirsting for Jesus? Does your life bear any signs of withering and drying up? Are you being crushed, squeezed, or pressed? Won’t you let today be the day that you make it your heart’s desire to allow God to work with you, to press you so that your life can produce good fruit for His purpose? Though there may be “Change and decay in all around I see. O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”