Day 11

I Am the True Vine

from the I Am: Statements of Our Savior reading plan

John 15:1-17, Leviticus 26:3-13, Hosea 14:4-8, Galatians 5:22-23

BY Rebekah Lyons

A few Septembers ago, 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, 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 me 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 Dutch missionary Andrew Murray’s book, Abide in Christ, excavating my soul and learning how this vine-and-branch thing works. My encounter with the little vine that day reminded me of this passage from Murray’s book: “My entire life, I thought my closeness with Jesus was dependent upon me. But Jesus’s 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 is “the true vine” who gently binds us to Himself (John 15:1). 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 (v.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.

Post Comments (27)

27 thoughts on "I Am the True Vine"

  1. Jill Banks says:

    God this is beautiful! What a precious picture of our Father and His love for us!

  2. Angie.M says:

    Churchmouse, if you’d like to read perspectives from different people who live in places notorious for persecuting Christians read Nik Ripken’s THE INSANITY OF GOD. It is eye-opening and convicting. The most mind-boggling thing is that our brothers and sisters count it a joy and a privilege to bear the name of Jesus through suffering and lift up the body of Christ so others are free to bear Jesus’s name without suffering for it.

  3. Angie says:

    In my Lysa Terkeurst reading from Embraced last night, I read her devotion about the olive tree. In order for the olive tree to be fruitful, it must have both an east and west wind. The east wind is so dry and hot that it can completely wither a field of green grass in a day. The west wind comes from the Mediterranean and brings with it the rain. In order to produce fruit, the olive tree needs both the harsh, hot dry wind and the pouring rain. These together cause the tree to soak up what it needs to produce the olive. However, if you pick the olive and pop it in your mouth, you will find it unedible…it is so bitter it would make you sick. It must be washed, broken, soaked, sometimes salted, and allowed time before it is usable. It may also be crushed, forcing out the precious oil, which actually preserves it. Lysa reminds that the hot and wet winds are both necessary just as sorrow and joy in my life. They allow me to soak in more of Jesus. When I am being processed, washed-broken-salted-waiting, it is ridding me of bitterness and self – softening work by the Holy Spirit making me more like Him. And, when I am crushed, it is for the sake of preservation to get right down to the most valuable oil. Crushed I am purely and simply His…no skins or thickness between, the life of His Holy Spirit’s Oil.

    1. Kailee Tidball says:

      Oh, so good!!

  4. Angie says:

    In “He Reads Truth” this morning, the author compares an adorned Christmas tree and a live growing evergreen. (In my words…)He reminds us that all the beautiful things we put on our Christmas trees are a work from the outside, artificial things that beautify the appearance of the tree but do not change the fact that the tree is not alive. The ornaments are attractive to look at, and may invoke precious memories but, they hold no true beauty in themselves. In comparison the fruit on a live evergreen is a result of what is on the inside. That inside nourishment and life produces fruit. He said, “True Christian virtue—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—rises from within and is the work of the Holy Spirit. This isn’t a list of areas of your life to work on. It’s a catalogue of what arises in your life when you are walking by the Spirit and not gratifying the desires of your flesh.”

    1. Mariah Simeroth says:

      That’s a great analogy! Thanks for sharing :)

    2. Kristyn Timochko says:

      Where can I get access to “He Reads Truth?” I’ve been trying to find something for my husband. Is there an app for it or a book or something?

  5. Kayla Hand says:

    I love in Leviticus where it says that if you continue to walk in my statues then the rains will come in their season. God didn’t promise to bring blessings or fix things right away but he said in his timing and his season. I love the analogy of the vine and that he will wrap up the broken and make us one with him. I am a teacher in a Title one school and I am faced with brokenness everyday. This brought me a lot of hope today in knowing that If I remain faithful in my classroom the rains will come in their season. God is already wrapping himself around all of the broken children in my classroom and it is my job to be that continuous light of Jesus and show his love no matter what happens.

    1. Ashley Ann says:

      Praying for you and your students today. I just left teaching to stay at home with my daughters, but I know how exhausting and unyielding teaching can seem. He has you and each of them in the palm of His hand. Love them fiercely.

    2. Bekah Steverson says:

      Praying for you and your students today, as well. I am a pediatrician and often see those same broken kids and feel so powerless to truly help them in the quick snapshot I get to see them but you are with them day in and day out. I pray they see Christ’s love through you.

  6. Shawn Parks says:

    I define joy as “the contentment in the confidence of rightness.” Joy is more reliable than “ happy” and more enduring than “exuberant”. Joy invades the spirit and seeps out through one’s words, actions, and attitudes. Joy infects those around it and transforms situations and experiences regardless of circumstances. Why is it that I was surprised this morning by Jesus’s joy?
    11“I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
    Do I always consider the Jesus from the 1970’s movie whose love and purpose was apparent, but his demeanor seemed more dour and pious than joyful? Have I never before considered the relationship between holy and full of joy? I infer a heaviness to holiness and a lightness to joyfulness—I take full responsibility for this assumption—but I wonder if my definition is not inspired by God to help me see both the depth and dimension of my Savior but also that His holiness is the source of His joy and mine as well! In love, He has wrapped Himself tightly around my heart and infected me with His holiness and His joy! In contentment and confidence of His righteousness may His joy be contagious in my life!

  7. Churchmouse says:

    My heart is heavy this morning as I think of persecuted Christian brothers and sisters across the world. It is easy for me to indulge in soul care in the comfort of my home here, to contemplate Jesus as the Vine tethering me in this safer place. The terrifying winds of war do not blow in my face. I draw some comfort from the reminder that Jesus is the Vine wrapped around these precious ones, holding them tightly to Himself. I do not have adequate words to pray on their behalf and so I ask the Holy Spirit to intercede and intervene for those who are suffering for bearing the name of Jesus. Help, Lord Jesus!

  8. Kristen says:

    Amazing! Everything through Jesus. That does sound great to rest in the grip of the Vine’s loving kindness. There is a good series that teaches about prayer going through the Our Father phrase by phrase. The episode I just heard was beautifully describing that because Jesus paid the price, we have freedom, joy, acceptance. You must hear how he teaches this! It captured my attention in a new way. Here is a link:

    This particular episode focuses on the Words: My Kingdom come.

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