Day 37

I Am the True Vine

from the Lent 2016 reading plan


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

BY Rebekah Lyons

Text: 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.

Last September, one lazy afternoon during Shabbat, I strolled along a path through a biblical garden in Israel. We’d been there for a week, staying at that gorgeous kibbutz overlooking the Emmaus road, inspired by the garden and the community that lived and worked there.

As I walked alone, the wind picked up from the east around 1:00 pm, fast and furious. I stopped in my tracks, as if Jesus were about to stroll around the bend, white robe and hair flowing, to offer a bear hug. A girl can dream, yes? Minutes later my eyes landed on a branch dangling in front of me; I was standing beneath a grape arbor canopied with a roof of vines overhead.

I looked more closely and noticed a tiny leaf, torn almost in two. At the bottom of the leaf a green vine had wrapped itself in a ball around the torn part, binding the tear and holding the leaf close against itself. I got choked up. For years I suffered with panic disorder while living in New York City, and I’d always describe myself as “untethered,” flailing and fleeting like that torn leaf.

I ran to gather the rest of my group, to show them this gift of analogy. Our guide, Arie, joined us with bright eyes and zeal, eager for any teachable moment. He shared that the nature of the vine when it touches something, is to begin wrapping itself around it, making them one.

That year, I’d been reading Andrew Murray’s Abiding in Christ, excavating my soul and learning how this vine-and-branch thing worked. My encounter with the little vine that day reminded me of this passage from the book:

Wandering one: As it was Jesus who drew you when He said, “Come,” so it is Jesus who keeps you when He says, “Abide.” The grace to come and the grace to abide are alike from Him alone. . . The chord of love that drew you near. . . . holds you fast and binds you to Himself.

My entire life I thought my closeness with Jesus was dependent upon me. But Jesus’ love draws us in for one thing: to come into His presence and His rest. That’s it. How many of us could use a little soul rest? And when we do come, the Vine takes the reins from there. He pulls us close and tethers us to Himself.

The greatness doesn’t stop there. This tethering becomes provision, meaning all the nutrients of heaven are offered to us right now, to renew us and bring us back to life. Jesus gives us everything we need in life to push back the darkness (2 Peter 1:3). He gently binds us to Himself. He brings forth fruit, grown from the life He’s given us, to then bring nourishment to the world. Jesus does it all. Fruit never comes from our own making—it grows to the measure we let Him grow it in us (John 15:5).

What a beautiful relief! The Old Covenant was about what we bring to Him: our annual offering, our covering of sin to become restored with God. But the New Covenant is all about what Jesus brings to us.

His offering. His blood to cover our sin. His righteousness credited to us, declaring us right with God. May we stop striving today and rest in the grip of the Vine’s loving-kindness.

Rebekah Lyons is the author of Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning. She is a mother of three, wife of one, and dog walker of two living in Nashville. As co-founder of Q Ideas and founder of Q Women, Rebekah’s passion is to embolden women to live their unique calling as they thoughtfully engage faith, relationships, and their community. Her favorite pastime is interacting with readers face-to-face with a discriminating cup of coffee in hand.

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83 thoughts on "I Am the True Vine"

  1. Elizabeth says:

    With tears I thank you for this beautiful post that spoke just what my prone to wander heart needed, Blessed assurance Jesus is mine, ours because of Him, Jesus only, Jesus ever.

  2. Ashley says:

    I have always held myself to extremely high standards. A decent amount of that has to do with my upbringing, however, a good portion still has to do with my personality. I’m a type-A, extremely detail-oriented, sometimes OCD, perfectionist. Pray for my husband! But, all joking aside, the person I am hardest on is myself. All of the qualities listed above, are fine, when used in a Christ-like way. Just a little self-reminder that criticism is not Christ-like. Legalistic expectations are not Christ-like. Demeaning and demanding words are not Christ-like. Even since I have been saved, some of these unchrist-like tendencies seem to be clinging onto me for dear life, not wanting to die. All I want to do is be a better, more loyal follower of Jesus. I want to please Him. I want to stop failing. I want to bear more fruit. The most awesome truth is that Jesus does it all. Fruit never comes from our own making—it grows to the measure we let Him grow it in us. Halleluiah! All I have to do is actually LET GO and let Jesus grow in me? What a relief. Ladies, please serve as a reminder to me about this–for I never want to get stuck in works of the flesh!

    1. CJ says:

      Amen! From my heart to your words. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Rest… Learning to do this. I’m the worse at it but praying it’ll become how I live bc Jesus has done all that is needed to guarantee my salvation so that I can rest. Resting in Jesus being enough tonight.

  4. Michelle says:

    I love this devotional today. One of my favorites so far, because it is a much needed reminder for my heart: he is holding himself to me, not the other way around. Rest. I am secure.

  5. Terri says:

    I love the image of the torn leaf and the vine wrapping around it, drawing it close. When we are torn and broken He is the vine that wraps around us holding us together, drawing us near, giving us comfort. I find that with the Bible, it is my vine my connection to Him, when I open it, especially in times when I feel most torn and broken, it draws me near, comforting me, giving a sense of being wrapped in His peace. I pray for more people to discover the comfort of His word.

  6. Tiari says:

    “May we stop striving today and rest in the grip of the Vines loving-kindness.” Amen! I’m so filled and blessed by Him who cares so much for us. That when the world tells us we need to strive, our great God says, no, just remain in me and I’ll allow you to thrive. I’ve been so grateful this week for the rest that He provides and today just confirmed it for me. How clever and great you are, Father!!

  7. Rosemary says:

    Thank you for the Andrew Murray recommendation! I immediately looked him up, and downloaded to my Kindle (PSA: he wrote in the 1800s so all his work is public domain now, and free!) I am really enjoying this book. Thanks so much for the tip.

  8. Ashley says:

    Ladies – I just published my new blog; a christian lifestyle blog about my journey with God. Please check it out athttp://www.savedforsomething.com & like my FB page at http://www.facebook.com/savedforsomething. I would appreciate you sharing it with any friends who you think would enjoy it! My husband & I travel the country for a living, and I’m a foodie, so my posts are always diverse & never boring! Thanks so much for your support! <3 xoxo, Ashley

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