Vine ripened fruit tastes better! And the fruit of the Spirit is impossible without the life of the True Vine!
Growing up, one of my favorite things in life was to go to visit my birthplace, Decatur, Illinois, and spend time with my Grandmother. And one of my favorite things about visiting with my Grandmother was enjoying the produce of her garden. She had all kinds of vegetables and fruit – all of them beautiful, tasty, and nutritious. Everything she grew was natural – I remember she didn’t use chemicals for anything. Cucumbers, watermelons, raspberries, squash, cabbage, and greens.
My fondest memories, though, were of her tomatoes. I love tomatoes. And my Grandmother knew her way around tomatoes like no one else. Her tomatoes were always big. Plump. Firm. And delicious! They were always the perfect shade of red. She knew exactly when to pick them.
Fast forward to today. For the most part, I can’t seem to find tomatoes like Grandma’s. Every now and then, I can find the “heirloom” variety – grown from old seed – but because they are at their best when just picked, they leave something to be desired when you find them in the store.
Why is that? Because most of the tomatoes you buy now aren’t ripened on the vine – they’re ripened chemically.
Saints are like tomatoes – they have to remain in the vine to be perfected. Here’s what Jesus had to say about it:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:4-5)
Another fruit that is vine-dependent are grapes. Grapes take years to cultivate. It takes patience to grow a vine from a seed that will produce grapes that are suitable for eating. It takes even longer to produce grapes that are suitable for winemaking. Many of the vineyards that produce the great wines of California are over 100 years old; some of the same in France are hundreds of years old!
There is a process to maturity.
There are some things we have to be aware of…
First, Jesus is the True Vine and the Father is the vinedresser – and True Life is only found in the True Vine (John 15:1). We can only produce the Fruit of the Spirit when we are grafted into the vine. Jesus tells us He is the Way, the Truth, and THE LIFE (John 14:6). Notice, He doesn’t say He is a way of life, as some Christians ascribe Him to be. And, unlike other belief systems, He does not call Himself “a truth.”
John tells us in verse 4 of chapter 1 of the Gospel he wrote that “in Jesus was life and that light is the light of men.”
Not a life. Not some life…
Jesus said apart from Him we can do nothing. Apart from Him we amount to nothing. Apart from Him we ARE nothing. Apart from Him we are filled with darkness because He is THE LIGHT of men!
The Fruit of the Spirit is only possible when you are grafted into the Vine. And, contrary to popular belief, the Fruit of the Spirit is not divided! It is whole fruit with many slices:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
When you manifest the fruit of the spirit, you will express all of these attributes. If you express one without the other, it is evident that you have been separated from the vine before maturing!
And while I’m here, let me hang my hat on this verse:
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)
The fruit of the spirit DOES NOT include crucifying your flesh daily! You don’t have to crucify what has already been crucified!
We only produce fruit when we abide in the vine.
Another thing we need to know, is our life is in our vine, not in our fruit! This is where a lot of Christians get it twisted – we become preoccupied with doing instead of being. Let me tell you this: if you are being, you will do what you are. If you do things that are contrary to your being, well, Jesus had a word for that…
Our fruit is the evidence of our being grafted into the vine (Romans 11:17-24). Unlike modern grafting, though, being grafted into Jesus will not cause one to produce seedless fruit. Jesus is the Word of God, which is THE SEED (Luke 8:11), therefore the seed that is in us should reproduce in every area of our life!
The Word of God cannot produce seedless fruit!
Without the life of the True Vine, it is impossible to produce fruit that remains.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16)
And, as always, the endgame of God is Love…
These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:17)
When you aren’t ripened on the vine, you are unsuitable for consumption. It becomes impossible for anyone to taste and see that the Lord is good through you (Psalm 34:8).
To sum it all up, when you are under pressure what do you manifest. Squeeze a grape, you get grape juice. From worldly people, you should expect complaining and cussing; squeeze a saint, you should get Jesus and His Word.
© 2014 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)