by Ruth Olsen
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I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower … you are the branches (John 15:1,5).
This passage might be quite familiar to you. So much can be gleaned from it as the Holy Spirit draws attention to diverse aspects over time. It’s like the process of growing in a relationship and bearing fruit!
What is the relationship here between the true vine and the vinegrower? Isn’t a vine planted by the vinegrower and dependent on the vinegrower for its needs? In most vineyards, pruning would usually happen every year at a designated time. And that pruning can look rather severe. Each year new growth will come on the branches that will, in due time, bear more fruit if the conditions are suitable. Without a connection to the vine, though, a branch is useless, and, in fact, soon dead!
So what’s the connection between the true vine (Jesus), the vinegrower (the Father) and the branches (followers of Jesus)? Relationship. Intimacy. Interdependency, and more. It’s already present between Jesus, the Father and the Spirit. Amazingly, that is what we are grafted into – that relationship between the God-head. Earlier Jesus said, ‘the Father will give you another Counselor, the Spirit [who] lives with you and will be in you. On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ (John 14:16–20).
Our connection, in and through Jesus, abiding and remaining in him in the richness of relationship, means his life flows in us and then overflows, available to others through ‘fruit that we bear’. All of this is to the Father’s glory! But why pruning? ‘So that it will be even more fruitful’ (verses 2,8 NIV). Jesus desires to give glory to the Father through our bearing much fruit in likeness to him.
Have you been aware of the Father doing pruning in your life? If we are wise, such pruning will prompt us to draw in very close to Jesus and draw deeply from him. In the process, we are renewed and nurtured, and in time, we produce more fruit that tastes of him.
Holy Spirit, thank you that you are patiently and persistently nurturing, shaping and training me each day, making me more like Jesus. Keep it coming, please. Amen.