“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser.
My son is helping me put together some new furniture for our porch. We hauled the heavy box out of the car, opened it up, and began taking out the pieces. Lots of pieces. Too many pieces!
Nothing comes assembled anymore, does it?
My son starts putting pieces together, looking for the parts that fit. Before I know it, we are looking at the instructions, deciding which ones we can skip in order to get it done faster. Surely we don’t need all of those steps?
Basically, John 15 contains an important set of instructions for abiding in Christ, living life on the vine. Covering both the hows and the whys, there is a lot to chew on in these verses. As I read John 15:1, I am reminded of my tendency to want to skip the obvious. Truth is, the most basic part of life on the vine is understanding who does what. Before my grape-groove can flourish, I have to get one thing straight in my head.
I am not the vine dresser, and I am not the vine.
Why is it so easy to forget this obvious truth?
Some days I live like I am the one in charge, the one that can make things grow. I confuse my decision making and my effort with the ability to create life, forge character, and guide destinies. I only see what I can see, the view from the vine. I look at the fruit growing off my branches, puff up with the pleasure of my fruit, and begin to think that I am the one who made it grow.
Abiding is the position from which fruit grows. If I am not connected, nothing God-good is going to bloom in my life.
Perspective is Needed
I know this sounds so basic, but sometimes we need the reminder that we are branches–the ones created by God to live in relationship through Christ, the Vine. The whole point of living the branch-life is to stay connected, to remain in a living relationship with Christ–the true vine and the One who saves from the trash-heaps of life. I love this passage from Hebrews that helps me keep my vine-life-perspective straight:
“May God, who puts all things together,
makes all things whole…
Now put you together, provide you
with everything you need to please him,
Make us into what gives him most pleasure,
by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah.”—Hebrews 13:20-21 MSG, portions
How has God shown Himself as the vine dresser in your life today?