by Kaitlyn Pianella
The gardener cares for his small vineyard with immeasurable pride and joy. He spends long days full of planting, watering, pruning, and harvesting his prized grapes.
His hands are dirty, his brow drips sweat, and he occasionally pauses to nurse a few nicks on his forearms. His job is strenuous, but he never grows weary.
His heart is connected to what his hands have produced.
The gardener plants the grapevine in the dormant season of winter, in a rich soil blended of sand, silt, and clay. He knows just the right time for plants to be received from the earth.
Jesus called Himself the true grapevine and referred to His Father as the gardener,
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you” (John 15:1-3 NLT).
This text was written to believers who had been changed, cleansed, and pruned by the Good News of Jesus Christ. He taught them about their identity and trained them to abide in Him. In similar fashion, the branches of the grapevine have to be trained to the arbor on which they grow. Usually the gardener tethers the strongest trunk of the vine to the wire of the arbor during a dormant season, and gently trains its branches to lie over the arbor or terrace during the season of growth. So must we be tethered to Christ and trained to endure life’s circumstances.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5 NLT).
The Greek verb menó means to abide, to stay in, or remain in. Christ is speaking of allowing His Spirit to live through us, showing the evidence of God and His character in our lives. He continues to explain what life is like for the believer who do not abide in Christ. Both training and pruning are done in the cold and dormant seasons. We too can learn how to trust, rest, and abide in our cold, driest, and dormant seasons of life. Pruning can be painful, but cutting away dead and useless branches ensures a more rapid fruitful season. Fruit cannot be produced without pruning.
“Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask anything you want, and it will be granted. When you produce much fruit, you are my disciples. This brings great glory to my Father” (John 15:6-8 NLT).
We believers who are abiding in Christ want our lives to count and to bring God glory. All Christians should want to bear the fruit of Christ.
Abiding is not trying harder or working harder to bear more fruit or to be more obedient, but resting in what Christ has done for us on the cross.
When we live according to our own fleshly desires and ambitions that bring glory to ourselves, our fruit is sour, because it tastes like “self.”
The best part of abiding in Christ is receiving the riches of love, acceptance, worth, and security that He receives from unity with the Father. When we have the identity of Christ, we become an heir of God.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that you may be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you (John 15:9-12).
Menó in my love. Stay there, remain in, and abide in my love. Our hearts are obedient when they believe God, and our actions resemble what we believe. Trying to obey all God’s commands or keeping a list of the ones you need to work harder on does not show God that you love him. But abiding in Christ and in His love produces a heart that willingly keeps His commands out of love for Him.
Is the fruit in your life the product of the True Grapevine? Have you tasted the sweetness that Christ offers in salvation? Do you see the pruning season as a preparation for a fruitful harvest? Please leave a comment.
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