If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Tending a vineyard is a full-time job. While the vines can be rugged and endure fluctuations in the weather, they need to be carefully nurtured if they are to bear fruit. Usually toward the end of the calendar year they are trimmed back in order to prepare them for the fruit-bearing months to come. Then, as the weather warms up, the vineyard owner examines each branch in order to size up its potential. Sometimes even fruitful branches are cut back in order to double or triple the number of grapes they can produce by the end of the growing season.

Jesus used the metaphor of a vine to illustrate our utter dependence upon Him. When He said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” He meant everything. Nothing is done by mere human effort alone, although it’s easy for some folks to take full credit for their accomplishments. In contrast, the only way we will be able to bear fruit for God is to stay attached to the “Vine,” from which all spiritual nourishment flows.

Spend some time today thinking about what it means to abide in Christ. How is God’s kindness and compassion being expressed through you in your relationships? This is where the Spirit of Christ is most keenly felt and enjoyed—when we express God’s love to people in ways that are meaningful to them.

Demonstrate God’s kindness in all your relationships.

Doug Schmidt is a freelance writer and editor; he is also on staff with his church as the small-groups director.