Staying in the Vine

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. – Jesus Christ in John 15:5

We live on a hill, and when there is a windstorm, we really feel it. A couple of years ago we had a day of powerful wind. It was a Saturday, and I was in the kitchen. Tom stood in the family room watching the trees bend under the onslaught. All of a sudden, I heard Tom yell, and there was a tremendous crash. I felt the floor shake under our feet.

An enormous branch from a very tall tree in our back yard had broken off and crashed to the ground. Thankfully, no children were playing outside underneath, because it would have killed anyone below instantly.

We had to wait a while for tree specialists to come and cut up the huge branch and haul it away. Day after day I watched that branch out the window. The leaves on the branch stayed green for a long time. You would never have known at first that they had been cut off from their life source. But before long, the green leaves began to slowly wither and turn brown. In a short time, what had been healthy, green leaves were dead.

That picture stayed with me as I thought about the metaphor it was for our Christian lives. We are told clearly by our Savior that we will only bear good fruit if we stay “in the vine.” But we tend to move away from the only source of our spiritual strength. Our fruit withers and disappears. We become brittle. When we are outside of that vine, we have removed ourselves from the life-giver, Jesus Christ.

Without the life from the tree, the branch could do nothing. It certainly could not produce more leaves. The same is true in our Christian life. Outside of Christ, the only fruit we can produce is the fruit of the flesh, which poisons the spiritual life we have in Christ. That rotten fruit has to go when we are in Christ, and is replaced with the fruit of the Spirit. What do our fruits look like when we are living in our flesh? Scripture tell us straight out in Galatians, chapter 5.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

So what are the fruits of the Spirit in our lives?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

If we abide in Christ, we know exactly what our fruit will look like. If we are living in the flesh, we also know, because God’s Word spells it out.

We aren’t left to guess work and speculation about how our lives change when we are “in Christ.” We know. And if we lack those fruits, we are told that we can get them by asking. In the same passage from John 5, Jesus says this in verse 17:

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.”

So if we need patience, we can have it. If we need goodness and kindness, we can find it. We need only ask, and the Lord Jesus Christ will give it to us. What wonderful news that is! The key is to stay in the Vine, and the life of Christ will flow through us to all of those around us. Praise the Lord.

5 thoughts on “Staying in the Vine

  1. Jean Selden says:

    Ingrid:

    Excellent post. It made me stop and think about how seriously God takes our works of the flesh.

    I was asked once in a ladies Bible study what sin could I not commit. I realized at that time that there was no sin that I was incapable of committing and that my heart is deceitful and my flesh wars against me and my only victory over any sin was immersion in the Word of God.

    My daughter and I took some time and looked up the Greek and Hebrew meanings of the fruits of the flesh as identified in Galations 5:19-21. We were amazed at how all encompassing they were and how we each need to examine ourselves daily to make sure that we are not weakening in any area.

    Your tree story told it all. That branch had been removed from its source through trama or neglect and died. May we all strive to remain true to the Vine that gives us life.

    Thanks again for the great post.

    Sincerely in Him,
    Jean Selden

  2. Lisa K says:

    Great post – very apt metaphor. I have to keep this in my mind – I am very undisciplined and blame myself. I procrastinate, am easily overwhelmed and have a tendency to be selfish with a generally negative nature. So I have to be connected to the truth or I will wither!

  3. paulacummings says:

    Ingrid, that was such a well explained example of the Gods definitions of sin. What jumped out at me immediately is the adultery and fornication part. I have realized how those two pervasive sins dominate our culture to the point where I don’t think young people may even know anymore that this is so wrong. Trying to teach a young teen these things where everywhere in our culture they are seeing the opposite is really something. Ex; saw a commercial for an oprah show the subject of which was a 30 year old virgin and why one would be that way. I wondered if it was just me that thought how messed up our society is. And I completely concur with the two previous comments. I need to work on myself everyday too!

  4. Kris Winkel says:

    Ing,
    This is what is happening to our world today. We are dying as a nation
    because the people are getting further and further from God. We’re just
    like the leaves on the branches of the falling tree. It’s not God letting us down, but the fact that we as a nation do not feel we need God. Our Founding Fathers made this nation great because of the belief they had in God. Prayfully we will come back to our senses before it’s too late…Kris

  5. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    So very true. Any society that turns its back on God en masse will have death on all fronts: death to the economy (there’s a dollar cost to sin), death to freedom, death spiritually as the state tries to fill the void, and death morally as people do what is right in their own eyes. As a society, the death is all around us. But as believers, we’re called to be salt (preserving element) and light, pointing to the hope in Christ as we see the darkness get worse.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s