The Greening of the Vines and Branches
The vines and branches are turning green on the mountain making springtime evident. The wildflowers are tipping the scales in their native beauty bringing hope for warmer weather and good things to come. There is something about the springtime that restores hope in the good things of life. It is also in this time that the necessity of vines and branches clinging together with healthy pruning is noticeable. Winter has its beauty but sometimes you have to look harder for it. For the cold dark days will one day again open up to the greening of the vines and branches. As I contemplate this on such a beautiful spring morning; musician and songwriter, Andy Squyres,’ song lyrics to Cherry Blossoms come to mind. As winter takes belief while springtime shows the evidence and lessons learned in the garden of life.
If you aren’t familiar with the song Cherry Blossoms, I encourage you to listen to it. Read the lyrics as they describe the cycle of life and the dependence that the branches hold on the vine. The lyrics remind us that it is in winter that our faith must be strong as there is often no evidence that God is with us. But through belief, we know the springtime will come, and we will see Him then. This is when we realize and rejoice in our hope. For in the springtime’s of life we feel His warm presence as it seeps into our souls letting our sorrows ebb away.
Lessons of the Vines and Branches
It is easy as the song says to “give in to this mortal frustration.” But it is important that during the dark days of trials or in the shadows of the valley, that we hold tightly to our faith and do not allow any separation between us and God. This is the lesson that Jesus gives us in the parable of the vines and branches. It might sound like a hidden code, but it is more of a realization moment. For Christ states that He is the vine and not only an ordinary vine but the “true vine.” This vine image is woven throughout scripture and might seem odd to those who don’t do a lot of gardening but if you look deeper, you understand what He is saying.
In the world of gardening, and specifically in this parable, vineyards, there is the main vine that feeds the branches that bear the fruit. If the connection between the vine and branches begins to weaken for a variety of reasons the source of strength for the plant leaves. And if there is a separation between the two, ultimately death will occur. In the story that Christ tells, He reminds us to stay connected. To remember where our source of strength comes from. This is the only way to bear fruit and live the life of purpose that we were designed to live. For apart from God, which is our source of strength, we can do nothing to achieve what He designed for us to do. Staying close is necessary for that is where the best fruit comes.
The Importance of Staying Close to the Vine in the Pruning Seasons
In the gardening world of vineyards, it is noted that the tastiest fruit is that which is produced closest to the main vine. But those branches that are closest need occasional pruning. It might sound painful, and sometimes it is, but if pruning is done right, the plant will come back stronger. If pruning is not done a plant will often wither and die. As the things that aren’t healthy need to be cut away. This keeps the plant from not being distracted from its function of flowering and producing fruit. And in life, it is the pruning that sometimes hurts to the point that we question whether it is worth it.
Is Christ worth the struggle or pain? It is often difficult to cut out the things we are attached to even if they are unhealthy. This type of pruning is hard and painful and begs us to ask if the abundance that Christ wants to pour on us exceeds the value of the pain? But Jesus says it is as He tells us in John 15:11 that all He tells us to do is so we will hold His joy and so we will be complete. He says the pruning is more than worth it, but we have to trust Him to get there. For it is only in this place that we experience the real moments of joy in life that are always steeped in the giving and receiving of love. This is how we know we want more and that it is worth it all.
Gardening with Love
By choosing to believe that Christ is God’s son, receiving Him as our Savior and Lord, and doing what God says we align ourselves as a vine to a branch. As we continue to believe in the Good News of Christ and relate to others in our communities in love, we are attached to the vine firmly gaining the everyday strength that secures us even when we find ourselves in the shadows of the valley. Remaining in Christ is more than trying to be good or honest people. Because it is more important to see that the only way to live a genuinely good life with productive fruit is to stay close to Him like vines and branches.
‘Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.’John 15:5 (NLT)
Recognizing that apart from Christ we have an unfruitful life is a key to a healthy relationship with Him. There are many ways to remain with Him and it doesn’t mean great sacrifice on our part. For we can be part of Christ by being silent and listening to Him watching carefully to the things around us that He shows us. We remain in Christ through regular worship and paying close attention to His Word. Staying close to Him comes in many forms but to receive the daily nourishment we need and to gain the life we desire we must seek Him, otherwise we miss out on the life that God freely gives us.
Hope in All Seasons
Won’t you challenge yourself to glorify God daily thanking Him for all He provides, so you can have the right relationship with Him producing much fruit in your life? Find your conviction and motivation rooted firmly in the Good News of Christ accepting who He is and remaining fully in Him in all you do. Lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that by remaining in Him as the vines to branches you take away the greatest lesson of life, giving you strength in all things.
Let the hope of Springtime remain in your life no matter the season you may be in. For there is always hope to come for the Lord makes all things new for those who remain in Him. Sing your hallelujah for His love is your breakthrough.
Love in Christ,
The duty of the branch is to cling to the vine.Max Lucado
What are Your Thoughts?
Have you experienced life apart from Christ? Has the importance of the lesson of the vines and branches revealed itself to you? Share your thoughts on the fruitfulness you have seen in your life by living a life clinging to Him.