“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Few passages in scripture communicate more truth in an economy of words than this passage. Jesus uses the imagery of a grapevine to communicate the nature of the Christian life in relationship to Himself. He identifies Himself as The Vine. His point is that just as vines render life-giving sap to branches so that they can grow, develop, and flourish, Jesus is our Life Source Who is prepared to do the same for you and me. He identifies us as branches because we have an all-important function of living amazing lives that constantly produce fruit that benefits our fellow human beings and glorifies our God. But living such a life makes us completely dependent upon Him (The Vine). This is a beautiful picture of the Christ life. In light of this truth, you and I have just one job in relationship to Christ. To remain!
I’m not a wine expert but I know that all of the best wine in the world comes from warm, dry places similar to the Palestine region where Jesus shared this metaphor of The Grapevine 2000 years ago. The dryness and the heat of such places allows for the climate to ‘stress'' the grapes of grapevines without spoiling them. The recipe for great wine is creating the perfect balance of stressing grapes by day and cooling them by night in order to produce the maximum bouquet of flavor. This is why desert places make such good wine. They tend to be hot by day and cool by night. God does the same with you and me. He allows stressful circumstances to bring out the very best in us (and the worst) and then He brings relief after short periods of testing - just like what happens to the grapes of the grapevine. The key to this cycle of testing is that the branches stay connected to The Vine. When branches fall to the ground their fruit spoils and is consumed by insects. But if a branch remains in The Vine - no matter the climate and despite the circumstances, it not only survives - it thrives and bears much fruit. But none of this happens apart from The Vine. Everything good happens in The Vine.
So when you reach the ‘desert’ places of life wherein you experience stress and feel fatigue, always remember, refreshment is coming! And no matter what happens, remain in The Vine – Jesus Christ. We ‘remain’ through times of prayer, biblical reflection, and fellowship with other branches in The Vine.
Are there any areas of your life that are disconnected from The Vine?
Has any part of you become ‘spoiled’ or ‘consumed’ by the stresses of life?