I am the vine; you are the branches. John 15:5a
Being from East Tennessee, I am not extremely familiar with vineyards.
We are shy a few vineyard fields in these parts.
But last week I had the privilege of seeing what all God is up to on the west coast.
Namely Napa, California where grape vines are of no lack.
They are everywhere. Rows and rows and rows of staked vines in uniformed lines. Each field long and wide. With their own beauty and distinctions but yet similarities.
Early one morning, I took a jog on the soft soil of the vineyards behind our hotel ( hindsight tells me I probably wasn’t suppose to do that… oops). But while up there, the verse inscribed on the cover of my Bible came to my remembrance…
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
And standing at the peak of this vineyard, looking down into Napa Valley, the Holy Spirit spoke deeper into my favorite verse.
Grapes stand don’t stand a chance without the vine. No nourishment. No nutrition. Grapes have but ONE job: TO REMAIN ON THE VINE.
To remain or abide in Jesus simply means to continue in a daily personal relationship with Him, living a life characterized by trust, prayer, obedience, and joy.
And standing here, at 7:30 in the morning, watching the sun rise over the beauty of the Napa Valley, I see that grapes have no place else to go. I mean, where else would they?
Simon Peter must have felt the same way when he asked the rhetorical question, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68
How fitting that Jesus tells us to remain in Him. Abide on the vine where our colors deepen, our flavor grows richer and our created purpose is fulfilled.
I have spent many days of my life trying to wiggle free from the vine. I’ve let sin separate me from my appointed place and I’ve fallen to the ground, severed from my source of abundant life.
And as John says, in verse 15, apart from the Vine, I can do nothing.
Nothing of eternal value, anyway.
Apart from the branch, I am, at best, a California Raisin. And who wants to be a raisin when you can be a Riesling?
Study the beauty of this picture above and ponder the passage of the Vine and branches. Are you remaining on the vine today? Is your life characterized by trust, prayer, obedience and joy?
I am asking myself the same, as well.
And when we do, when we live a life abiding in our God, we are even more beautiful than the vineyard of the Napa Valley.
And this East Tennessee girl is here to tell you, they are beautiful.
Resolve today to remain in Him.