I Am the True Vine
I was six, and my family was spending Easter weekend in southern Indiana with my father’s family. Sunday morning we were headed to Sunday School and church. Cousin Susie told me I would LOVE Sunday School—I wasn’t so sure—I was nervous going to a strange church.
But oh—I did! To this day I still remember two things: the absolute warmth of the teacher (she hugged me right away!) and the little plant we each got to pot and take home as our very own.
She told us to put them in the sun, water them, and watch! From this little plant would spring little branches, and more leaves, because it was ALIVE, just like Jesus.
I took my plant home, and each morning jumped out of bed to see what new growth was there, my heart filled with wonder. It grew and grew and grew!
When Jesus proclaimed, “I AM the true vine,” so “abide in me,” He was making the point that the only way we can be alive is if we are in Him and He in us. That’s the only way we can bear fruit, because an unattached branch will never be able to do it. You can hang things on a dead branch—but the branch has not produced them.
Tim Keller often contrasts morality with true Christianity. Morality is something you do yourself—hanging things on a dead branch.
You can be moral, and not connected to the vine. You can obey the rules and be quite self-righteous about it. There can even be a certain beauty and order to your life. Keller says you are like a snowflake: perfect, beautiful, symmetrical, and FREEZING. There is no true life there.
In contrast, Christianity is organic. Because you are rooted in One who is ALIVE, The True Vine, as you abide in Him and He in you, you will bear much fruit. If you don’t bear fruit, then you are dead, and you will be cut off and thrown into the fire.
Real fruit has enemies—“little foxes” that spoil the vines. We’ll consider that.
Real fruit needs pruning—and it is our Father who tends the vine. All that He cuts is for good. But pruning is painful. (It’s the Stonecutter, or Vine Tender at work!)
It always hurts to die to our idols—but then LIFE comes. There is never a death without a resurrection.
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