“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself;
it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4
Big, juicy and sweet grapes do not just grow off the vine. In fact, the grapes all of us will be eating over the coming months took years to grow and develop. Vine production of abundant bunches of grapes depends on the vinedresser’s expertise and patience.
The first three years of a vine’s growth is devoted to developing a strong root system. On the surface, it appears as if nothing is happening, but beneath the surface the most important business is taking place. It is there where the roots anchor themselves into the soil and and begin their growth process for generations to come.
Above ground, the vinedresser knows the dormant season is the perfect time for pruning. It seems odd that cutting something causes it to produce more doesn’t it? This is exactly what happens in the vineyard, and with all of us. Our connection with God ensures that we produce, but first, we must allow God to prune us during our dormant seasons.
Your Dormant Season
Dormancy occurs when you are in a situation where it seems everything you want is not coming to pass. Doors are not opening, people who have been part of your support system fall away, you lose a job, a car, perhaps a house. These seasons are painful because you do not know what is happening and you feel like you are alone…but you’re not.
This is the season God is using to create your spiritual root system, anchored upon Him, that will sustain you for generations to come. This is the season God will prune you from everything that has blocked you from depending upon Him. This is the season when you will develop relationship with God, where you will be made to be still and learn how to “remain in [Him] as [He] also remains in you”.
“Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me”. These words spoken by Christ in the vineyard are as relevant today as they were when he shared them with His disciples. “Remaining” in Christ means abiding with Him, but you cannot abide until you surrender.
Most of us find it difficult to surrender what we want for what God has for us. We think our way is the best way, but that’s only because we don’t have a view of the full picture of our lives. We see the road in front of us, but God sees the entire highway and the destination He has chosen for our lives. True surrender means releasing what we desire for our lives in order to walk, live and operate for the sole purpose of God.
Surrender is a conscious effort. It requires discipline, sacrifice and commitment to God. It requires you to be willing to develop a relationship with Him through prayer and to get to know Him through reading His word. It also requires going through difficult times in order to develop faith and trust in God so you can get to know Him by His many names--Provider, Healer, Banner, Protection, Peace, Strength and more.
It is only when we “remain in Him” that we are able to operate in the purpose God has for our lives. It is only through relationship that God learns that He can trust us enough to work through us. It is only through relationship that God can transform us into fruitful disciples.