THE TRUE VINE
John 15:1-5 (TLB).
“I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener (the Vine-dresser). He lops off every branch that doesn't produce. And He prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops. He has already tended you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you. Take care to live in Me, and let Me live in you. For a branch can't produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from Me. Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from Me you can't do a thing”
God, the Vine-dresser, has the care of the vineyard; He loves the Vine, He loves the branches and cares deeply for the growth and fruitfulness of those who are united to the True Vine by faith. What a privilege to be a branch of the True Vine. Jesus said, “I am the True Vine,”knowing full well there would be many, many counterfeit vines, vying for power and adoration, producing branches that bear nothing more than false hope and misguided deception.
But to be grafted into the True Vine, to be “in Christ,” is a continuous life-giving experience with many “oohs and ouches” along the way. Pruning is a painful yet very necessary part of our Christian experience, “that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Romans 7:4 KJV). It’s important to understand that “we’re pruned if we bear and we’re pruned if we don’t” – either way we’re in for the lopping process! The Lord wants fruit - when He didn’t find it on the fig tree He dealt with it quite decisively! (Matthew 21:18-22).
Jesus, our True Vine, is the One we abide in; He’s the life-giving Trunk through which everything flows and remains healthy. Can you imagine how grieved He must sometimes be as He looks upon His Church and feels the weight of hypocrisy, dead branches attached to Himself, the True Vine, yet bearing no fruit or signs of abundant life? Then along comes God, the Gardener, lovingly yet determinedly pruning us of hindrances and mind-sets that both deter and detour us from bearing much fruit. In nature, every tree needs sap flowing from the trunk to the branches, and when the flow of sap becomes cut off, it quickly becomes evident that the branch is not healthy. Jesus has given us His Holy Spirit, and as we abide in the Vine, the Holy Spirit – like sap – flows freely through us, from the Vine to the abiding branches. The more we are immersed in the Holy Spirit, this oil of God, the more fruitful our branches will be in the kingdom of God. How slow we can be to grasp the fact that a branch lives, thrives, remains spiritually healthy and bears much fruit simply by abiding. This profound truth takes all the effort and struggle out of bearing much fruit. Instead of flapping our branches and becoming caught up with the big “I”, we can look to Jesus and keep our focus on Him, the One who said, “I am the True Vine.”
Do we have much fruit on our branches?
Are we flowing in the New Wine? - Joan Emery.
Thought: “Neither do men invite the Holy Spirit (New Wine) into dead branches: else the branches will break, the Holy Spirit will depart, and the branches will perish: but they invite the Holy Spirit into living branches, and both are protected.”
Bible Readings: Matthew 9:17
Please Pray This Prayer:
Dear Lord and lover of my soul, thank You that Your plans and purposes for me are only good. And, even when You prune and shape me, You have only my welfare and fruitfulness at heart. Help me, Lord Jesus, to have such faith in You that I am willing to surrender myself totally to You, knowing this will cause my branches to become gloriously fruitful, to the glory and honour of God. Amen.”