by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
Last week I told you I have rearranged my priorities. I’m far more deliberate about spending quality time with Jesus. I feel renewed, and I know why. I had been living as a dry branch because I was not abiding in the Vine.
Jesus tells us in John 15 He is the Vine, we are branches, and as branches, we must abide in Him to have an abundant life. Abiding in Him means to have Him as the center of everything. When we do that, we are relaxed and peaceful. If we aren’t abiding, we have cut ourselves off from His essence flowing into us.
A lifestyle of being attached to the Vine yields what the Bible calls fruit (mindsets, emotions, and personality traits). The fruit that comes from healthy Vine attachment is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. We develop these traits because they are Jesus’ character traits. As we spend time with Him, we become more and more like Him.
Abiding in the Vine keeps us sated and enables us to have healthy relationships with others. We love people, but we are not clingy or easy to offend, because we are not dependent on them. We are free to want them without needing them.
However, when we are not abiding in Him, we innately yearn for that connection. In that state of need, our standard go-to is to seek out a person to fill the void. As a therapist, I see a lot of dry branches with unhealthy attachments.
People are out there looking for their “soul-mate.” That one person to “complete” them. The one they “can’t live without.” They also want friends they can share all their deepest secrets with and children to center their life around. Those are fancy terms for co-dependency and classic examples of dry branch thinking.
When a dry branch is looking to connect, they feel lonely and yearn for deep emotional intimacy. When they meet a person who seems to fulfill that longing, they feel euphoric. They think their empty place has been filled. It feels so good it makes them feel love, joy, and peace. They are kinder and gentler because they think their attachment need has been met. I call this “faker fruit” because it never lasts.
Another human cannot fulfill their inner longings and deepest desires, so, inevitably, the faker fruit season ends, and is replaced by the unhealthy fruit of not abiding in Christ. Where the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, and self-control, the rotten fruit of not abiding is neediness, stress, frustration, and vices that help them cope. Moreover, their relationship that at one time felt like the answer becomes another area of concern and anxiety in their life.
If this is you, please understand the relationship you are clinging to cannot be healthy until you are healthy. The only way to do that is to make Vine time your top priority. Stop clinging to whomever it is you are so attached to and relax your grip on the relationship. They cannot be your supply source, only Jesus can. When you do these things, you will find your relationships are better, and your faker fruit will give way to the real thing.