Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. – John 15:4
When I first started doing this I had talked about the farmer and the ways it relates to the types of people we encounter in our lives.While I haven’t been the stony or the thorny seed I certainly have been the man tossing seeds upon the wayside where I was not bearing fruit at all. I knew the Lord but I was apart from Him. This verse in John is exactly something I needed back then and sometimes even now. We all wander a little or a lot, doesn’t matter the distance because God tells us that He will meet us wherever we are. I was unplugged, separated, away from God for a decade almost. I was off of the vine.
Life off of the Vine
Have you ever plucked a grape from a vine and let it sit there? It doesn’t instantly turn rotten and it doesn’t wither and dry up right away either. That is how life is when we are away from God. At first anyways, because we have that prior nourishment to sustain us just like the grape did. What happens eventually? The grape begins to rot and ultimately dies because it is not being renewed. That is exactly how I was, exactly how it is for any one away from God. It doesn’t mean you have become an unbeliever. On the contrary, I grew up going to church a lot and while I did not follow what God wanted me to, I knew God existed and never denied it. How long can the fruit survive away from the vine? It doesn’t matter, eternity is still longer.
This is where the church comes in because we need to help one another. Can you put a grape back on the vine and it will thrive again? No, once you pull the grape off a tear in the skin happens and it begins losing all of it’s nourishment. That is the good news, you my friends, are not grapes. God is a master gardener with His vine. He can plug that hole and fill that fruit with nourishment. The church is there to help lead the wandering fruit back to the vine so that they do not wither and die. This is why we speak life to the lost and even to ourselves because it is a chaste reminder that we can still fall off the vine if we are negligent and allow the enemy to pull at us.
I’d like to go back to the grape for a minute and just explain why staying on the vine is important to me. See, when you hold a grape up you see light pass through it. When you break the skin it is sweet and juicy. It is refreshing! That’s how we should live our lives as Christians. We should have a skin so thin that the sweet good news of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is ready to burst forth and refresh the dying fruit so that God can mend them and bring them back in to the vine. You want to be a seedless grape ultimately because who wants a bitter seed while enjoying the richness of God? The best grapes are seedless because then they are full of the nourishment from the vine. Do we really want the lost spitting out a bitter pit because they recognized that we have some harbored doubt in our hearts?
I know that all sounds very highfalutin but it is the truth. We are called to invigorate others and bring them to Christ. That is what I am trying to do here because I know my talents in this season are in writing and in technical knowledge to run a website. Who knows where God is going to take me but I can assure you I’m going to cling to the vine for all it’s worth. Cling to it for life. God is life.