Grapevines


grapevine

The Parable of The Vine and the Branches is one of my favorites, because it contains significant imagery for Christian living.

  • God is providing us with His light for us to grow.
  • It’s not enough for us to grow; God wants us to bear fruit.
  • Not only are we to bear fruit, we are to bear much fruit.

John 15:1-8

The Vine and the Branches

 “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 prunesso 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.

“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. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 

In this parable, Jesus explains that He is the vine, the main part of the plant. We are the branches; we branch off of the vine. The fruit comes from the branches. The vine (Jesus) carries the water and nutrients to the branches. With God as the caretaker of the vine, He is going to provide everything the vine needs to grow, water, nutrients, and sunlight, even pruning.

The disciples lived in an agrarian society. References to crops and producing a better harvest would have made sense to them. The imagery is important to us too.

To properly grow a grapevine, to get it to bear much fruit, you need to train it.

  1. Select the right climate. Position the plants so they will get enough sunlight.
  2. The grapevine’s root system needs to be made healthy first. There must be proper soil, and drainage. This could take a few seasons. So it is with our spiritual lives. We have to have a solid relationship with Christ first, before we can do anything.
  3. A trellis is built for the vine to grow on. We must have a solid foundation, and understanding of the Word of God. It takes time for the vine to grow up the trellis.
  4. Apply pest control. We have to protect the grapevines from fungus, and other pests. The grapevines need to be constantly inspected for problems, and those problems need to be dealt with immediately. So it is with our sin. We must deal with our sin problem immediately, or it will affect the ultimate harvest.
  5. Prune the vines. This is critical for optimum growth. There are plant hormones that are activated when pruning occurs. Auxin stimulates cell elongation and Cytokinins stimulates cell division. This makes the plant produce more fruit. You see the same process in pruning rose bushes and Crete myrtles. The pruning will concentrate where the glucose will be. We have to be pruned to stimulate our spiritual growth too. With grapes, the pruning occurs after every harvest, during the dormant season, every year. Ouch! But it is necessary to create a bigger harvest.
  6. Patience is necessary. During the growing season, fruit is always growing. We don’t always see the growth every day, but it is happening. In the Christian life, growth can occur every day. Life may seem mundane and ordinary at times, but something should always be going on inside the hearts of the true believer. Patient endurance is the key.

Revelation 14:12

 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. 

Galatians 6:9

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

We may not feel like we are growing. We may want to take matters into our own hands. But like the grapevine, we will bear much fruit if we yield to God, the Gardener.

  

Scripture: Bible Gateway.com

Image: Google Images

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The Sin of Pride


I thank my friend Tim, who is a member of my Sunday School Class, for inspiring today’s post. May God bless you and heal you, and bring peace to you and your family. 

The Sin of Pride

What is the “worst” sin? Our answer to this question might be murder, or homosexuality. We can always turn to Scripture to find the answer. 

Proverbs 6:16-19 (GNT)

There are seven things that the Lord hates and cannot tolerate:

A proud look,

a lying tongue,

hands that kill innocent people,

a mind that thinks up wicked plans,

feet that hurry off to do evil,

a witness who tells one lie after another,

and someone who stirs up trouble among friends. 

Notice the first sin on the list is a proud look. We take pride in many things; our appearance, our education, our jobs, our homes, our families, our religion, and our political affiliation. We think we are doing good, and we think we can do so much for ourselves and others. Sometimes we even give some of the glory to God, but yet we still take some of the credit ourselves.  We must always remember that every good and perfect gift is from God (James 1:17), that includes the talents He has given us to accomplish great things.

Pride is deadly. Pride is the sin of Lucifer that turned him into Satan. Pride is the sin that caused the Pharisees to reject Jesus as their Messiah. Pride can fool us into thinking we are more than we are. 

Today was communion Sunday in our church. This is an important time for self-examination. The Scriptures help us with this process. If we stop to consider our terrible our sin is, and the price it cost our Lord to pay our sin debt, how could we ever be proud of ourselves? Yet we often are.

When  we are tempted to become prideful, let us remember the words of the apostle Paul:

1 Corinthians 1:31 (NIV)

Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 

Regularly, we should ask the Lord to reveal to us this sin in our hearts, as we pray for humility.

James 4:6 (GNT)

But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 

Scripture helps us keep pride from worming its way into our lives, if we will heed God’s warning:

In 2 Chronicles 26, after King Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. He was stricken with leprosy.

 Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 

Isaiah 2:11 (NIV)

The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. 

Humility is often seen as a weakness. Actually, humility is recognizing God’s power in our lives. It is about gratitude to God. For everything.

Walk In His Light.

* Scripture taken from http://www.Biblegateway.com