Day 37

I am the True Vine

from the Lent 2016 reading plan

John 15:1-10, Psalm 80:1-19

This is part of a 10-day series on the person of Christ in the 2016 Lent study.

I’ve often wondered what it means to “abide” or “remain.” It seems like such a passive role, which is what, I think, can make it feel so frustrating.

Many of us are much more comfortable striving, accomplishing, and achieving. To strive is to grab life by the horns and take control of a situation. To abide is to take a posture of rest and trust, worship and obedience.

Especially in the West, and particularly as men, we’ve had it drilled into us over and over again that prosperity and success are found by pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Through books and film, we’ve found reason to praise the self-made man. However, it seems clear from Jesus’ teaching here in John that there is no such thing as a spiritually self-made man. “Apart from me you can do nothing,” Jesus says in John 15:5.

Rather than abide, oftentimes we dig deep, and push, and battle with everything we’ve got. We hope it will be enough, but eventually we are forced to recognize that it won’t be.

It seems counterintuitive, but the really good news of the True Vine is that you can never be enough, you can never do enough, you will never be strong enough, wise enough, or holy enough. Often though, we have to come to the end of our own strength and influence before we’re ready to acknowledge this.

When was the last time you saw someone wearing a shirt at the gym that just said “Abide”? Maybe your gym is a little different than mine, but I have a feeling that we favor a more active posture over a more trusting, carefully measured sense of trusting in Christ.

The fact of the matter is that “to abide” is not really a passive task at all. The verb John uses over and over again occurs in the active voice. To abide is not to be complacent. Far from it. To abide is to actively place our trust and sense of identity in the True Vine. It is an invitation to fruitful and purposeful connection. It is a cure to the emptiness we’ve all felt when we tirelessly spin our wheels. It is the antidote to a lifetime of chasing after the wind.

When we trust the Vine, we naturally grow and expand in the proper direction. We have the nourishment we need to thrive, not just the bare essentials to temporarily survive. To abide with Christ, our True Vine, is to live knowing that we are joined to Him, and that everything we need—for everything He has called us to do and be—comes from His hand.

Thank God we are free from the responsibility of becoming spiritually self-made men. May that freedom cause us to worship our source of life this season—the One who died and rose again, Jesus Christ.

written by Andrew Stoddard

Post Comments (9)

9 thoughts on "I am the True Vine"

  1. Isaac Jones says:

    Jesus is the vine by which we all connect. Jesus can never be cut brown or destroyed; he will never be overcome.

  2. Isaac Jones says:

    Man is fallible and can be overcome. Christians are branches attached to the vine that cannot be overcome. If we have faith in Christ He will be faithful to graft us in based on that faith.

  3. Isaac Jones says:

    Heavenly Father,
    thank you for sending your Son to die for my sins. Thank you for grafting me on to the family. Thank you for not abandoning me. May you be glorified to find righteous a man such as me. Please forgive me for my multitude of sins. Please lead me to greater faithfulness. Teach me that I may obey; humble me so I may follow. May I fear your name all the days of my life; amen!

  4. Isaac Jones says:

    Jesus came to show us Himself and reveal the way to God by making Himself the way to God. Jesus is the true vine and access to the Lord. We can rest assured as grafted branches that we are with Him and safe from the evil one dragging us away. Christians will not go to Hell nor get demon possessed, because we are possessed by the Spirit, held by the Hand of God, and grafted into the family by way of the Vine; Jesus Christ.

  5. Isaac Jones says:

    I will test in Christ. I will seek forgiveness when I try to find peace and rest in other things, and in repentance I will continue to rest in Christ. I trust that God will sanctify me and forgive me from my sins. I am a branch, and I am attached to Jesus.

  6. Bryce says:

    We must abide in Him, our lives must be centered on him. And despite what the author said, I think it is a battle just to abide in him. I think it’s a brutal fight just to try to stay near to him. It’s hard. So many things are trying to pull us away. It’s a struggle to abide.

  7. Bryce says:

    Like I just said, it’s a struggle and we’re going to fail. But the gospel tells us that we are forgiven when we stumble. The gospel tells us that while we might have to fight to abide, we are not fighting for our salvation or justification.

  8. Bryce says:

    I will respond by remembering that Jesus is my source and that’s where I need to abide.

  9. Bryce says:

    This teaches me that He is our source of life and sustenance. Without Jesus we would shrivel up and die. We are dependent on him whether we acknowledge and recognize it or not.

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