Secrets of the Vine
By Glenn DeSilva
June 3, 2023
For the past few weeks, I have been sharing a midweek study-prayer series with a small group entitled “Secrets of the Vine” by Bruce Wilkinson. As spring transitioned to summer, I thought this series, based on John 15 (The Vine and the Branches), would be a perfect way to embrace the season when many people enjoy spending time in their backyards gardening.
The weekly messages are set in the context of the night before Christ’s crucifixion. Jesus and his disciples left the upper room, traveling uphill through covered terraces of grape vineyards towards Gethsemane. In the vineyard, Jesus used an agricultural metaphor, likening himself to a vine and his followers to branches, making it clear that he is the source of all true life and nourishment. To grow and be productive in our spiritual lives, we must stay connected to him daily. So far in our study, we have discovered two fascinating truths: First, “If your life consistently bears no fruit, God will intervene to discipline you.” Second, “If your life bears some fruit, God will intervene to prune you.” Let me elaborate on these thoughts.
No one enjoys hearing or experiencing the word discipline. However, it is important to remember that God disciplines those that He loves. Hebrews 12:6-7 states, “…For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.” God’s greatest desire for us is that we bear fruit for His kingdom and glory. Fruit bearing is impossible without a life-sustaining connection to Jesus, the true vine. If our spiritual life consistently produces nothing but thorns, thistles, and tumbleweed, God will intervene for His glory and our salvation, guiding us towards growth and a fruitful lifestyle.
A grapevine left alone will often favor leaf growth rather than fruit production. An experienced vinedresser knows that without pruning, the vine may appear impressive but yield an underwhelming harvest. To help us fulfill our potential, God prunes us for His glory. It’s worth noting that while we may not be perfect at pruning the plants and shrubs around our homes, God is the perfect pruner. He knows precisely what needs to be removed from our lives for us to grow fruit eternally. This principle of pruning raises a crucial question about our spiritual lives: Are we genuinely striving to become more like Jesus? Have we truly given God permission to remove things in our lives that limit our ability to bear fruit?
Our study series is still ongoing, and I believe God’s work in me is not complete either. Each day, He grants us another opportunity to live for Him and share His love with others. My prayer is that we will allow God to discipline and prune us as He sees fit for His glory. I desire to live my life in such a way that others perceive a joyful harvest within me because I have chosen to stay connected to the Vine.