Last Saturday night in the midst of deep and intimate worship, a clear message came into focus from God’s Spirit. It was a timely reminder to combat any discouragement or weariness that may have tried to settle into our hearts. What was the simple and profound truth that came through many voices last Saturday?Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches.
Here is that truth found in John 15:5:
I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.
Recently our family took a vacation to Spain. We were celebrating the landmark of both of our sons having graduated from college. One of the days we wound our way through the hills of northern Spain where vineyards stretched as far as the eye could see. We stopped at one of the vineyards to go on a tour of the fields.
I was astonished and thoroughly impressed to learn just how meticulously these grapes were cared for. Branches were pruned back to such an extent that the grapes would produce more intense flavor instead of volume. There needs to be enough water so that the grapes are sustained, but too much water once again reduces the flavor. Even different rows of grapes on the same property received more or less watering depending upon the exact components found in the soil. Though the fields were vast and spread out acre upon acre, one vinedresser carefully and painstakingly inspects and cultivates each and every cluster on the property to care for it in the best way possible day after day after day.
If this much care is given to produce the best and richest grapes possible in the natural, can you begin to imagine how much care Jesus takes in the supernatural fashioning your life to yield the purest and most exquisite representation of His pure love? We have this tendency to try and judge for ourselves how good we think we’re doing. We look at one point of time in our journey and think, “I’m not as far along as I should be” or “What am I really doing that’s making a difference?” or even “Does it really matter than I’m alive?”
Jesus says, “Trust me. I know what I’m doing. I am the vine as well as the vinedresser. Why don’t you let me do the gardening of your heart? I know the soil of your heart and I know just how to water you at the right time. I am your source for everything in life. Everything you need—love, encouragement, hope, blessing, favor, breakthroughs—everything—comes through me. I am meticulous in my care for you and I know how to make your life the sweetest version of who I created you to be. I don’t look at your life in one fixed point in time. I see all of your life from start to finish as one beautiful montage of all the highlights of the ways you have loved well because you have chosen to remain connected to me. You’re making a bigger difference than you know. I’m making sure of it. Trust me.”
Take in the truth one more time from the heart of Jesus to you and hear the tenderness in His voice:
I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father! I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. Let my love nourish your hearts.(Portions of John 15:5-9 in the Passion Translation)
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