I have always enjoyed the beauty of the vineyards in Napa Valley, CA and have often wondered what the quality of life would be like living there.
Do you know that all of us as Christ-followers live in a spiritual vineyard? John 15:1-8 describes this, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
- Let’s identify the essential pieces of God’s vineyard. First, God is the “vinedresser”, responsible for pruning, training, and cultivating vines. Second, Jesus is the “true vine”, and third, each of us as Christians are a “branch”.
- Just as the roots and trunk of a grape vine, the living energy of Jesus nourishes and sustains us while each “branch” develops its fruit. Our desire to know and love Him and the energy to serve Him flows into and through us as long as we “abide” in Him. Jesus said, “Apart from me (the vine) you can do nothing.” No branch can live producing fruit by itself. Cut off from the vine, a branch is dead.
- To maximize fruit bearing, a branch has to be pruned. Pruning cuts away dead or overgrown branches or stems to increase fruitfulness. Without it, long twisted, leafy branches would develop with little or no fruit. Pruning in real life is painful! For example, it comes from relationships that have lost their intimacy or trust such as emotional fallout with a spouse or a rebellious child, severance from a job that hinders ambitions and causes mid-life adjustments, a boss who is a jerk, life changing physical accidents, or an illness that alters your capabilities. Pruning creates a need within us to cling to Jesus producing fruitfulness.
- The branches are protected from disease by the Word of God… “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (v.3). Romans 5:25&26 further explains, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”
True Christ-followers will bear fruit. Matthew 12:16 states, “You will recognize them by their fruit.” Galatians 5:22&23 identifies what our fruit should look like, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.”
Are you fruitful? If not, cling to Jesus trusting in Him, daily staying in His word. Pruning will be involved, but the joy of fruitfulness is more than worth it. Abide in the vine!