One of the highlights of our trip to Sicily this past May was working in Dan’s zio’s vineyard. He grows grapes for wine on the southern coast of Sicily outside a little town called Menfi. I felt like I’d stepped inside one of Jesus’ parables.
Jesus words from John 15:5 came to my mind: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” And this truth was so obviously visible as we picked off brown and dead branches from the vines. Those dead branches could do nothing.
The pruning that was more difficult was that of the lovely green sprouts growing below the graft. They look so nice and healthy! Yet they don’t give off the desired fruit.
It’s just like us. Out of my own strength I can often produce “good looking” fruit. But it’s not the real thing. But thankfully, since “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24) I am free to walk in the Spirit.
So, sometimes, I have to painfully wrench myself from seemingly good green growth. But the beautiful news is that I don’t have to work myself to death to bear fruit – I just have to remain in Him and I’ll “bear much fruit.”
…I’m just trying to remember I’m in Him and He’s in me.