Jesus explained many truths of the kingdom of God through parables. We often receive revelation through analogies in the natural realm applied to the spiritual. Our spiritual understanding is often enlightened through picture language or physical comparisons – as in the natural, so in the spiritual.
Many references in scripture can be found regarding the vine and it’s fruit. John 15: 1-12 Here Jesus declares himself to be the true Vine, and His Father to be the Husbandman, or Farmer. We are the branches as we abide in the Vine. The Husbandman comes to inspect His vineyard looking for fruit. Every branch that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does, He prunes it, (ouch!), that it may increase it’s fruit yield. No-one likes the pruning, but it is necessary for a more productive yield. We prove God is who He says He is in the pruning, our learning curves.
On a recent visit to a local vineyard, a friend learnt some interesting facts about grape vines. If a vine is planted in prepared cultivated soil, it will grow profusely but will bear no fruit. If it is planted in a rocky surface where the water runs off, the vine exerts itself in a struggle to find water, but it thrives under pressure and in the struggle, the fruit is produced.
What an amazing analogy! It is so easy to choose the comfort zone of a peaceable life with no pressure. We judge it as good, but there are no challenges there, no fruit produced! Jesus teaches: “Herein is My Father glorified that you bear much fruit, so shall you be my disciples”, John 15:8. The challenge is: Am I a disciple of Jesus…….or just a follower chasing blessings?…….seeking His hand of provision instead of His face, in deeper fellowship and communion. Bearing fruit is to the glory of God.
The following is a song given to a sister, inspired by the above scripture quote:
“I’ve found a new way of living, I’ve found a life that’s divine,
I’ve got the fruit of the Spirit, ‘Cause I’m abiding, Abiding in the Vine,
Abiding is the Vine, abiding in the Vine, love, joy, health, peace,
He has made them mine. I found prosperity, power and victory,
Abiding, abiding in the Vine” (Beulah Ratcliffe)
Thriving under pressure! God’s way is the narrow way to challenge my flesh that will always seek self rule!……instead of Christ ruling my heart, thoughts and actions. I find God’s peace in the rocky soil of my life. The challenges will produce fruit of the Spirit as I submit to His will and directions. Our flesh wants to choose the easy way, the prepared soil, but there will be no fruit produced there. As I die to myself, the life of Jesus can flow unhindered through me. Here I discover afresh the joy and peace of serving my Master, as we continue my journey here together.
In John 21 we find Jesus teaching through a parable of a vineyard and a wicked husbandman: A man planted a vineyard, hedged it in, built a tower and a winepress, and then let the property out to a husbandman. The owner went away on other business to a far country. When the time of fruit harvest came, the owner of the vineyard sent his servants to receive some of the fruit. (That was accepted practice in those days, often a term of tenancy.) The husbandman refused to give any of the fruit away to the owner’s servants. He beat one, stoned one and killed another. The owner sent further servants to collect his dues. Alas, they received the same treatment. Finally the owner sent his son, thinking they would honour him. Sadly, the wicked husbandman slew him also, thinking if they killed him, they could steal his inheritance.
It is easy to interpret the spiritual significance here. God was the owner of the vineyard, but when He sent His Son, wicked men refused to honour Him. They plotted and killed Him. Thankfully, our heavenly Father had a redemption plan.
The wicked husbandman refused to give the fruit away. When the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives, (Galatians 5: 22-26), it is always to be given away, to share with others. If you keep fruit just for yourself, it will rot! As you receive it, you will enjoy all the benefits of it, but make sure you extend it to others. Many people have received God’s grace and mercy by the bucketful. Beware of extending it to others by a thimbleful! God’s love is lavish.
We have received a mandate to love. Jesus said, “This is My commandment that you love one another, as I have loved you”, John 15:12
John 15:16 “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and produce fruit, and that your fruit should remain”. Keep giving the fruit away, and remember, the pressure has divine purpose……this is where the fruit is produced to the glory of God.