Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Talk Tuesday-The Vine

John 15 begins with Jesus telling His followers:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me" (John 15:1-4).

The imagery of a vine, its branches and fruit present a very powerful allegory. The vine gives sustenance to the branch-without it, the branch would wither and die. The fruit that grows off the branch is only a result of the nutrients it receives from the vine. The more you prune the branches, the more it grows and becomes more fruitful.

Jesus' message to us begins with the words, "I am the TRUE vine" (John 15:1). There are many false vines in this world. We are often misled into believing that money, power, affluence, and physical beauty denote who we are. Our 'fruits' of material wealth, fame, and acceptance are evidence of 'success.'

Jesus, meanwhile, is referring to spiritual fruits. He warns us that God cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit, while He prunes every branch that does. This pruning process can be very painful, yet yields a great abundance of fruit. Consider a trial that you have gone through during your journey of faith in Christ. What did it feel like? How did it change you?

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:22-24). 

God's pruning crucifies our sinful nature. Our pain is never wasted-if we REMAIN in JESUS CHRIST. Let us abide in Him together, looking forward to the complete JOY that is ours in love and obedience to His word.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love,  just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete," (John 15:9-11).


Beloved said...

This is such a great reminder to us ... that we have to abide in the Vine, Jesus Christ, moment by moment, over the long haul, if we are to do anything, or accomplish anything, or bear any kind of fruit, that will last.

My trial is one of waiting, waiting, waiting...a quite a few areas of life. It's tempting to want to depend more on self than on Him during these times, but that would surely make things so much worse!

It's learning to trust God for the future and being thankful for the present, even if not everything is as I'd hoped it would be by now.

It's one of learning to be content regardless of how trying my circumstances are, knowing that I am so tremendously blessed and really have it great compared to so many other people.... and that even if everything I do have were to be taken away, Jesus Himself would be enough.

It's one of learning to wait on God to change frustrating dynamics in ministry, in His timing, and not try to rebel against His timing by doing things my own way. I could very well just say what's on my mind to so many people ... and be justified in saying it ... and it is tempting, but the Lord is teaching me to be gracious, and patient.

It's learning to live with a clean heart and pure thoughts, regardless of the standards of behaviour around me--something that gets harder and harder as things don't change.

It's learning how to love unlovable people, knowing that slights against you are really slights against HIM ... and just starting every day like it's a new day, treating them with as much love and relational warmth as if you've just met them ... truly forgetting about yesterday.

It's dealing with the almost constant contradication of how the people of the Lord behave as opposed to how the Word says we ought to behave.... and NOT judging or condemning... or becoming turned off ... just loving and accepting.

It's focusing on having God change me instead of asking Him just to change others.

It's embracing His plan for me, and not analyzing how that compares with His plan for others.

It's allowing God to use me to encourage others, even when I myself feel discouraged, and tired.

None of this could be done over the long term if we don't stay in the Vine! We can only go for so long before the REAL us comes out, if we are not abiding in Him.

I know the results of these trials will be worth it. For all of us who stick with Him ... we will be pleased by what we become as we abide in Him, and get to know Him more deeply through our experiences. We will have credibility when we speak to others about the Lord and what He does for us... how He keeps us.

I am so encouraged by that!

Anonymous said...

We have a tree in our yard that had spread its branches and sent forth leaves in abundance for years,but bore very, very few fruits, until one day,my husband,the gardener gave that tree a good pruning. But since its pruning,the tree brings forth fruit in abundance and the quality of the fruit has definitely improved tremendously. God, our Gardener,has to cut off every branch in us that bears no fruit,and he does this because of His love for us. I have come to accept and understand that truth as I journey through my walk with God in this life.
The pruning process is one we all dread, because it can be a very painful process but the truth is that when God, finishes His pruning and we see how beautiful and fruitful we have become, we stand in awe of our Gardner for knowing just how and where to prune us so that in beauty, we can
bear all the fruits that He intended us to bear when He planted us in His garden.
Thank you for that post and may God bless you both.