Abiding in the Vine
Most people love fruit. Soon it will be spring, and my grapevines
will sprout leaves that will eventually produce wonderful fruit
for our household and others. In the Bible, it talks about the
fruit that is lasting not only in this life but fruit that will
follow us into eternal life. In John 15:1-11 Jesus gave us the
analogy of Himself being the Vine, and those in Him the branches.
These verses describe the process of growing healthy fruit and
hold the key to a life in Christ that is healthy. This key opens
secrets to bringing forth much fruit for the Kingdom of God.
Abiding in the Vine is the Way that brings forth the
Truth unto eternal Life. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my
Father is the vinedresser.” Jesus is the vine that grows out of
the ground, from Him flows all nourishment, abilities, and
strength for our life. Abiding in the Vine is living, breathing,
and taking nourishment from Jesus, the Word of God made manifest,
as the source of our very being.
Vines have branches. The purpose of a branch is to bring forth
fruit. We are designed as spiritual branches to bring forth much
spiritual fruit. Joh 15:5. Spiritual fruit is defined in Scripture
as “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. Ga 5:22-23. God’s
fruit coming forth in our lives will bring glory to God, and place
eternal deposits in Heaven. Mal. 3:16-18.
The fruit of our life found in the Vine, Jesus Christ. The fruit
we bear will touch other lives so that they too will want to be
joined to the Vine and grow into branches. Spiritual branches are
a wellspring of God’s life and love to others.
The quality of the fruit is dependent upon the care given or
allowed to be given to the plant. Our heavenly Father is the
Vinedresser or the Husbandman. He takes care of the branches.
Father God is determined to keep our branches healthy. He inspects
the branches to make sure they are joined into the Vine and stay
that way. If a branch is broken or diseased, He is the One who
mends the break or applies the healing ointment of Jesus in trying
to save the branch.
A vine is known by its fruit. Christians are also known for their
fruit. Lu 6:43,44. If a Christian is claiming to know Jesus
Christ, the fruit that comes forth out of their life should be
luscious and desirable to be attained by those around them.
Branches that do not bear fruit are broken or sick. In John 15:2
Jesus said, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes
away. And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may
bring forth more fruit.” In a vineyard, you cannot have worthless
branches lying around. All branches are cared for and pruned to
bring forth fruit.
In the Christian language, unfruitful branches are those who call
themselves Christians, but God’s Word is not alive in their life
and Spirit. These are the ones who bring forth no fruit to the
glory of God. This is also speaking about those who have fallen
into sin, and made shipwreck of their faith, and lose their good
conscience by ungodly deeds or thoughts. This does not mean we
will not make mistakes nor ever sin, but it means that we should
continually draw from the Vine-Jesus to grow in such a way as to
become a fruit-bearing branch.
The trunk of the grapevine is a large gnarl from which the
branches grow in either direction along the trellis, as they are
trained. As the fruit develops in our life we are trained and
inspired into good works by the Holy Spirit. God’s works include
acts of kindness, gentleness, love, peaceful reconciliation,
miracles (such as Moses did, Num. 16:28, and the works of faith
such as Abraham had, among other examples in Scripture.
In the process of tending the branches, Father God watches the
vineyard. New, wild branches on a vine tend to grow along the
ground, but they will not bear fruit if they continue to grow
there. Their leaves will get coated in dust, and when the rain
comes, they will mildew. Then the branch becomes sick, and in the
end, is useless and is removed from the vine.
Our lives must reach up to Jesus after we are born again. As we
stay connected to the Vine through reading the Bible we grow. We
cannot continue to grow into healthy branches if we stay earth-
bound in our ways and thoughts. We must let Father God prune us
and reposition us on the trellis of life.
Father God walks through the vineyard looking for the branches
that are growing on the ground. I do this with my grapevines.
Father has a cleaning bucket in hand. Bearing in mind that we are
washed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. When He finds branches
that are covered with dust and dirt, He lifts them up, washes
them, and prunes off the sick parts. As we look up to Jesus,
Father God will remove thoughts and ways that hinder becoming
fruitful branches that are extensions of His kingdom.
Pruning is sometimes a painful process that we do not
enjoy. Many would rather continue to grow along the ground to
avoid Father’s pruning shears. Because God loves us, He does not
leave us in a sick state. He calls us up from the dirt into the
light and begins to prune us so that we become a healthy branch.
If you get angry with God, the process will take longer. You will
have to go back through the discipline step, and then again
proceed into the pruning process. I would highly recommend, from
experience, that you avoid the discipline step and allow Father
God to prune you. As you are going through the pruning process
keep in mind that this will bring forth fruit in your life. And it
is okay to say “Ouch!”
One friend in China who spent many years in prison for his faith
said, “All dross is removed when you are in solitary confinement,
but Jesus comes forth in His fullness.” Sometimes the pruning
process feels like solitary confinement, but as we yield to His
pruning our lives grow and blossoms appear.
Father’s purpose in pruning us is that we might bring forth
abundant, luscious fruit for the Kingdom of God. Even with that
thought in mind, the pruning process can leave you feeling bare as
you nurse wounds from the pruning shears. An example is what I
did to my beautiful rose bush one year. I decided to prune it
because it was growing long branches and was no longer bearing
roses. I took out my pruning shears and cut it back to a bare nub.
As I was cutting away it seemed to say to me, “Ouch!” It even bled
for a while, partly because of my lack of wisdom in doing the
Father God has all wisdom as to the proper time and ways to prune
us. I doctored the nubs of my rose bush with a sealer, watered
it, prayed, and waited. In about three months that rose bush
blossomed out with beautiful leaves, and it produced more roses
than it ever had before. The lesson I believe is to yield to
Father God’s pruning and trust His great wisdom and timing to
bring forth fruit in our lives. Yes, the process is painful, but
as we abide in the Vine (Jesus) His love flows upon our wounds and
they will heal, and fruit will come forth. Joh 15:3.
After the pruning process, the Vinedresser carefully tends the
branches and then ties them to the trellis for training. We cannot
do this on our own, but the Father is the One who sets us upon the
training trellis. We must remain united to Him in a living faith
that is motivated by His undying love. We began to learn to live a
life of dependence on Him, and obedience to His words.
As we yield to the hand of the Vinedresser and are joined firmly
to the Vine, we will continually receive from Him the power to do
well. Remember a branch, no matter how good it is, cannot bear
fruit from itself. Joh 15:4. If branches are separated from the
parent stock, they can produce no fruit. They would immediately
wither and die. If we are separated from Jesus, we can do nothing,
and soon will become sick and worthless. Jesus lives, and He is
our source of life. Joh 1:4. As we abide in the Divine nature of
Jesus Christ, we will be wise in His wisdom, powerful in His
might, and become sanctified through His holiness
Those who do not abide in the Vine (Jesus) the Bible says are cut
off from Him. Joh 15:6. They become withered, indifferent, cold,
and dead to every holy and spiritual word, and work. In our first
church, a young couple came to the Lord. They had a dramatic
conversion when they came out of the Hell’s Angels gang. Both
were involved with drugs, but the husband was hooked on heroin.
Both were miraculously delivered.
They walked with God for many years as they grew in the Lord. When
we moved to our second church they followed and served with us in
leadership. When we moved to our third church they again
followed. By then over twenty years had passed. Faithfully they
continued to walk until one day the wife decided she did not need
to read her Bible anymore. She stopped abiding in the Vine. Then
she dropped out of fellowship. I pleaded with her to turn, sharing
God’s love and concern for her soul, but she had left the trellis
and was in the dirt. She never came back to God. Sadly, she became
a branch that was cut off and died in that state.
To watch a person, you love falling away is a hard thing
to experience. When you see a brother or sister in this process
pray for them, intercede for their souls, and love them with God’s
love. Never give up on them. There is always the hope they will
turn and be restored. I remember David Wilkerson saying how he
prayed for many years for his backslidden brother. Many years
later one night his brother walked down the aisle while David was
conducting a crusade. His brother repented and his life was
It is the honor of the Husbandman (Father God) to have
holy children who are strong branches, heavily laden with fruit.
This is what He desires for our lives. Let us yield to His
pruning, repositioning, and training so that we might bring forth
much fruit for the Kingdom of God for such a time as this.