It’s hard to believe that this is the final week of my Finding I AM Bible study. I want to say thanks to Ashley at Set my Heart on You for suggesting we read through this book. I have found it so enriching and so relevant to my life at the moment. In this final week we’re looking at Jesus as the True Vine.
Right at the start, Lysa told a story from her life, about a party that she wasn’t invited to. It was one of those circumstances that made her think ‘I’m not good enough’. I’ve been in that situation before, finding out about social plans second hand does get you wondering. Even beyond that, it’s something I need to battle with on a regular basis. Am I good enough at my job? Am I good enough as a wife and home-keeper? Will I be good enough one day as a mother? Those thoughts creep in and if they’re not dealt with, they can be paralysing. But this study brought me back to the truth. It’s not about me being good enough – some days I won’t be. But through Jesus ‘we are better than good enough because He steps in and fulfills what we cannot do on our own’.
Jesus is the True Vine – the source of our life and fruitfulness. As obvious as it sounds, I’m not the vine. It’s not up to me to be perfect, to achieve flawlessly and make everything happen. If those thoughts of not being good enough come crawling back, I’m reminded now to look to Jesus and declare that he is enough. He will give me the strength and the grace to do what he’s called me to do.
In this I Am saying, Jesus doesn’t just talk about himself. He also talks about his Father being the Gardener. As the Gardener, the Father’s role in our life is to refine and shape us so we can bear more fruit. He gets rid of things that are not bearing fruit and prunes those things that are, so we can bear even more fruit. It sounds scary and painful, and sometimes it is. It’s been a season of pruning in my own life recently, being called to lay down a ministry that just wasn’t bearing fruit and now being called to move to a different church. Yet, I’m trusting that the Father knows what he’s doing. In this time of laying things down and waiting, he is shaping me so I can bear more fruit. The fruit of the Spirit, of a godly character. And also, I pray, the fruit of other people growing and being encouraged in their faith. By the way, my little balcony garden has undergone some much needed pruning today so I’m hoping to see that the spiritual metaphor works in real life too!
There’s a lot here about what God is doing. So, what is my role in all of this? Jesus also includes us in this garden metaphor. We’re the branches – nothing in ourselves, but as long as we stay connected to the Vine, we have great potential for bearing fruit. The only way I can produce fruit that lasts, that impacts the world for God’s glory, is through Jesus. It seems like I’ve said this every week but it’s just been hitting me again and again – I need to spend time with Jesus. Abiding with him, staying with him. Following him passionately. Remembering that he is with me always.
What does staying connected to the vine look like for you?