Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Vine and the Branches

So, after all is said and done, how do we live a life that is moving away from codependence? How do we live a life of interdependence on Jesus?

Let’s Visit the Vineyard
Let’s go to another place where fruit grows: the vineyard.

Jesus used the vineyard to teach us some important ideas of what it means to live in Him.

He says in John 15:1-4:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 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. (NIV)

Jesus teaches us that His Father is the one who takes care of the vineyard.  He tends all the vines and makes sure they are all growing healthy fruit. 

The “true vine,” Jesus, is the One who pleases His Father.   He is not just any vine.  His fruit will be the only kind with an eternal quality. 

If a branch doesn’t produce fruit, His Father will cut it off.  Jesus may be warning His listeners that not having a relationship to the True Vine will have eternal consequences.

But those branches that produce fruit will be pruned.  The pruning is not a punishment, but God acting with love to make the branches—you and I—more productive in His Kingdom. 

A branch laying on the ground by itself, or attached to another vine will not bear fruit for the Father.  Fruit comes only from the True Vine.  His vitality, His life, flowing in us produces abundance, for only He can give us what we need to grow and prosper.  We then, just like the Son, will please His Father.   

Lessons From My “Vineyard”
Many years ago, I lived in northern California.  The house we moved into had a vine from an old vineyard that the previous owner’s father had.  The owner had taken a vine and planted it in a box.  He built a pergola for the branches to climb. 

When we moved in, the branches had grown across the pergola.  The leaves and grapes hung down.  It was like a small slice of Italy in our backyard.  The grapes looked a bit sad, and the vine didn’t seem very robust, but I knew nothing about grapevines.

I just let it be. 

One day I noticed, while in the backyard with my children, that some of the branches had made their way up my roof and were almost to the top.

Whoa. How did that happen?  I asked around and someone explained that all the energy of that vine was going into those wayward branches.  They needed to be cut off.  The whole vine needed some serious pruning.

I was an inattentive gardener and my vine was going haywire. 

Up the ladder I went, and brought down several ten foot long branches. 

I would like to say the vine jumped into high gear.  But it was still in a box.  So, its growth was limited because what it could draw from the soil was limited. 

It was sad vine.  We moved many years later.  I hope someone with far greater knowledge than I had knew what to do with that vine with its sad branches and measly grapes. 

It is the same prayer I have for you and for me:  I know I am in the hands of Someone who knows how to love and tend this sad branch. 

He wants abundant fruit in me, so I must accept the pruning shears along with the sunshine.  I must accept the liquid plant food along with the manure. 

I cannot fear the shears.

I cannot disdain the rain.

I cannot run from the sun.

I cannot toil in the soil.

But:  I can wait for His sap, His Spirit, to fill me, flow through me and guide me as I grow in the Vine.

This is the last blog I will be posting.  After ten years, and having being read by many loyal readers, I am going to stop blogging. It has been fun and I do hope this blog has blessed you.  

All of my books are available on  Amazon.  The postings you have been recently reading will become my latest book:  Desert No More--Overcoming Christian Codependency.  It will be available in a few months.

All of my books are listed under "R.L. Thorne Cramer" on Amazon.

Blessings in abundance! 

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