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Jesus-Centered Life youth devotion no.12

Why All This Useless Beauty?

There are almost 9 million separate species in the world (8.74 million, to be exact). And thousands of new species are discovered every year. Researchers estimate it will still take hundreds of years for human beings, with all our cleverness, to discover them all. To quote a great Elvis Costello song, “Why all this useless beauty?” The answer is that God’s “love language” is the language of metaphor. According to Romans 1:20, God has buried clues to his true nature in… nature: “Since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.” Every created thing is actually a metaphor—something that’s symbolic of something else—that can help us understand who God really is and what he’s really like.

Jesus used this same strategy to help us understand how spiritual growth works: “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire” (John 15:5-6, THE MESSAGE).

This joined-to-the-Vine metaphor is telling us a deep truth: We’re just dying branches in desperate need of attaching ourselves to a growing Vine, and the Vine is Jesus himself.

Living It Out

Did Jesus really say that when we’re detached from him, we can’t produce anything? Really Jesus? Yep, He said it and He really meant it. Think about it: a branch separated from the rest of the plant is still a branch… it’s just not a very effective branch. It’s not doing what branches are ultimately supposed to do. And what are branches ultimately supposed to do? They’re supposed to grow, blossom, and produce fruit. A branch disconnected from the vine is still a branch, but it’s kinda useless.

So Jesus is making a pretty bold statement. He’s saying that when we are disconnected from him we aren’t growing, blooming, or producing fruit. we’re kinda useless. Ouch.

Praying and reading the Bible are obvious ways we can stay connected to Jesus, so I just gave you those two ideas as freebies! What are two or three other ways you can stay connected to Jesus, the Vine, all the time?