SIMPLE TRUTH: Stay connected ‘in Chilton County’

Published 1:36 pm Thursday, December 26, 2013

By Charles Christmas

The way to be a successful Christian is to “stay connected.” To teach this simple truth in Chilton County, Jesus would take us would-be followers out into one of our numerous fine peach orchards in the Peach Capital of Alabama.

He would begin with a statement of the obvious, telling us the purpose of a peach tree is to produce peaches: many, more and better. He would explain that the trunk of the tree coming up out of the soil will provide all that is necessary for the branches to produce peaches. But this can happen only if the branches (limbs) remain connected to the trunk of the tree. If for any reason the branch does not remain connected to the trunk, it will be impossible for it to produce peaches of itself. The owner/caretaker of the orchard will cut off useless branches that do not produce peaches, but will only prune back the branches which produce, and this will enable them to produce more and better fruit.

Then Jesus applies this simple reminder lesson in the following words: “I am the trunk of the tree; God, the Father, is the owner/caretaker of the tree; and you are the branches. God’s purpose, plan, call and commission to you are to bear fruit: much, more and better fruit. But to do this you must absolutely remain connected to me, the trunk of the tree.”

Question one: What is the fruit of a Christian? The fruit will be the character qualities which are like Christ: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control. Next would be serving and giving actions imitating Christ in meeting the needs of others. In addition, there will be worshipping actions like Christ. Other fruit would be others turning to Christ as a result of God using your example and words. This is only a partial list of the fruit of a Christian.

Then the question is, “How do I stay connected to Jesus, the source of fruit bearing?” All this is explained and answered in the Gospel of John, chapter 15. First, you stay connected by living in the Word of Christ daily. The first Psalm assures us that by living in the Word, a person will bear fruit. Colossians 3:5-17 is a display of fruit which God can produce as we live in the Word of Christ. Second, to staying connected, we must live the Word of Christ by obeying his word. It must be for the purpose of obeying and practicing the Word in our personal lives that we live in the Word of Christ. Third, to stay connected, we must love like Christ loved. He said much about loving others, using himself and his cross as our example. We must give of ourselves to others, forgive and put up with others. Fourth, we will stay connected by praying according to God’s will and bearing the fruit of answered prayer. Jesus promised, “If you stay connected to me and my words stay connected to you, ask whatever you will, and it will be given you.” (John 15:7) Fifth, we will stay connected by being unashamed of the name of Jesus and sharing our own story of what he has done and is doing in our lives.

Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, proving to others that you are my disciples.” (John 15:8)

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.