The Call to Come Close

April 7, 2022

“If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

John 15:6

Written by Sarah Caskey from the Lockeland Springs Campus

Gather Around!

If there’s one thing that the people love, it’s a campfire. We savor the opportunity to have the ones we love all gathered around outside, enjoying such sweet quality time together. We love hearing the call to come close to the fire pit and to one another out in the backyard once the fire has been stoked just right. And it’s altogether so easy to romanticize the warmth, the conversations, and—of course—the s’mores!

But as much as we love a good campfire and appreciate the heat that the branches and logs provide, we know that the purpose they fulfill is only temporary—their lifespan only a vapor.

Not The Faith of The Firewood

Jesus had a lot to say about vines and branches…much more than we probably do. Just think about it. We don’t really want to be the dead branches in His comparison now, do we? Because even the fanciest, longest-lasting logs from Lowe’s can’t seem to make it through an entire evening spent around the fire in community and in fellowship with the ones we love.

In John 15:6, Christ calls us not to be like these branches that are thrown aside and withering (only serving as such short-term kindle); He calls us to be the branches that remain on the vine. He pleads for us to answer His call to abide in Him, bearing fruit and extending our reach out into His promise of everlasting life.

Remain, Receive, and Rest

To “remain” sounds like such an easy and almost passive task. But you and I know that it’s much more difficult than it sounds. Remaining means being on guard from distractions and deception. It requires being still and knowing where the source of life comes from. It means forsaking all else that would inevitably fall short and fall shy of His promises of forever.

Like Pastor David Hannah tells our Lockeland Springs congregation, Christ doesn’t call us to make good firewood. Instead, He calls us to remain on the vine. Jesus offers up the call to come close and to receive the promise of everlasting life in the here and now, not withholding good from those who walk uprightly with Him like Adam and Eve did in the garden so long ago (Psalm 84:11).

So, church, abide. Remember to remain and to receive the rest that Christ offers. Don’t let your life be firewood, but rather like the branches on the vine that endure.

Now What?

Take a moment to consider where you currently stand in Christ’s branch analogy. Are you like the withered branches, or are you more like those that remain on the vine? No matter what your answer is to that question, remember that Christ’s call to come even closer to Him is still being offered up to you. Thank Him for His faithfulness in drawing us near, and remember that He has already made a way for you to receive His rest.

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