I am a branch of the “Vine!”
Although I grew up in a state where grapes are grown, and wine is produced, I knew very little about grapevines or how the vinedressers cared for those vines. It was only after I started studying the Bible in earnest as an adult that I became aware of how the branches of the grapevine are carefully pruned to encourage them to produce more fruit and even much fruit.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
It is a great comfort to me to know that I don’t have to produce fruit through my own efforts but rather that Jesus is the one who is my provider. He is the one who gives me the strength, courage, inspiration, and the ability to do whatever it is that He calls me to do.
Sometimes, though, pruning can hurt! There have been several times in my life where I said to the Lord, “Ouch! That hurts!” In one particular instance the answer I received was, “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
I was not a happy camper at that point in my life because I wanted the Lord to take care of a serious issue “right now!” The Lord did take care of it, but not the way I had planned for Him to do it. Months later He beautifully resolved the issue in a way that I could never have imagined.
In the meantime, He was doing a work in me and in my husband as well. We both were learning to trust Him more fully and to know what He meant when He said, “Without Me you can do nothing.”
He said that no branch can even live, let alone produce leaves and fruit, by itself. Cut off from the trunk, a branch is dead. Just as a vine’s branches rely on being connected to the trunk from which they receive their energy to bear fruit, Jesus’ disciples depend on being connected to Him for their spiritual life and the ability to serve Him effectively. The fruit we produce is that of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). Our source of life and spiritual fruit is not in ourselves; it is outside us, in Christ Jesus. We can live, live rightly, and serve Him effectively only if we are rightly connected to Him in a faith/love relationship.1
For me, learning to trust the Lord has been a process which has taken place over many years. I am a strong-willed person, so my thinking that I was self-sufficient led to my unwillingness to let go of my pride and let God direct my steps.
Even though the pruning was not pleasant, the Lord eventually did break through my stubbornness, and I have learned to trust Him with all my heart (Proverbs 3: 5-6). The assurance that I am a branch of the “Vine,” as Jesus said, has paved the way for me to have much comfort, peace, and joy within no matter the circumstances in my life.
Bill McCormack published to YouTube August 20, 2012
1 Got Questions. Retrieved from: http://www.gotquestions.org/true-vine.html