VINES CAN BE BEAUTIFUL! When Millie and I were young adults and married and with two children, we moved to California. There we bought our first home in the suburbs of Sacramento. It was in that location, about a year after purchasing our home, that I received Jesus as my Savior. As you went out the side door of the garage to that home we had a small covering that had a grape vine or vines growing on it. How those grapes managed to grow I have no idea because I knew nothing about growing grapes. Thirty-three years later when we bought a home in Panama City Beach, Florida we had some beautiful flowering vines that we planted and grew. I had learned a little bit about caring for them. When it comes to the vine plants in our home we rely on Millie to be the expert on growing them because I am sure I do not feed them correctly or water them correctly. They tell me both are necessary for beautiful plants. The big lesson I have learned over my life span is that vines can be beautiful or they can be really “sorry” looking and they can even die on you.
Jesus had some very important words on this topic from a spiritual standpoint that far exceeds the raising of a physical plant. The metaphor of a vineyard in John 15:1-8 which gives us these words by Jesus is much discussed and variously interpreted, “I am the true vine,” (John 15:1, 5 NIV). I encourage you to read these verses and reflect on them in relation to what you may know about vines that you may be growing in your home or garden and what it takes to be successful in your endeavors. Dig deep and study diligently so you understand what Jesus is really saying. In Vine’s Expository Dictionary the word “true” is seen as meaning “real, ideal, or genuine.” While Jesus is the true spiritual vine (real, ideal, genuine) there are many copy-cat varieties as well. That is a very important point in realizing what Jesus is saying. As you study the great truths of this passage of Scripture Chuck Swindoll would offer this piece of advice, “The primary subject of Christ’ teaching is abiding, not bearing fruit. At no point in the discourse is the believer commanded to produce fruit. Instead, we are promised that if we abide, fruit will result…The subject is not salvation but vitality as a believer. The image of “fruit” in biblical literature is a common analogy for “proof.” A branch that is properly connected to the main vine and its roots so that it is properly watered and nourished will produce fruit. In the case of the spiritual analogy the fruit of the Spirit will be evident for all to see and reveal the true condition of the one connected to or abiding in “the true vine” which is Jesus.