Cling to the Vine

I invite you to read Debbie’s post that will bless you tremendously.

Woman walking cross country and trail in autumn forestBy Debbie Petras

Learning to walk with Jesus is a lifelong pursuit. After committing my life to Christ, I knew I needed to grow in my spiritual walk. I remember years ago thinking “now how do I live?” I knew I was saved by grace through faith. But the day to day living was a challenge for me.

How thankful I am that the Bible teaches us how to live in Christ. In John 17, Jesus was preparing His disciples for the time when He would soon depart from them.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world even as I am not of it.” John 17:15-16 NIV

This life can be very challenging. Sometimes I wonder why God doesn’t just take His own home now. But that wasn’t His plan. As a Christian, I have to remember that although I live in this world, this isn’t my real home. But while I’m here I am to reflect Jesus to others.

So how do I do this? On my own, I can’t. While on this side of heaven, I still have to deal with this flesh of mine. My flesh likes what it wants and when it wants it. There are times when I give in and do my own thing. But I have the Holy Spirit within me. As a child of God, I can choose to submit to His leading. When I do this, my choices will be consistent with His will.

John 15 is a wonderful chapter in the Bible that talks about my relationship with God through Jesus. There’s an analogy of the fruit and the vine. Jesus is the vine and God the Father is the gardener. Any gardener knows that pruning is a necessity. Cutting back branches allows for new growth. But pruning can be painful.

“He cuts off any branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2 NIV

I love how everything I need to grow in my spiritual walk is provided for me. My part is to cooperate and not operate in my flesh. I need to remain and cling to Jesus.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15: 5-8 NIV

The ‘ask whatever you wish’ isn’t a license to pray for whatever our hearts desire. If you walk with Jesus and submit to His prompting and read His Word, He changes the desires of your heart. I’ve experienced this personally.

In the past, I’ve enjoyed certain things that I no longer enjoy. My desires have changed as I’ve grown in my faith. I have to laugh as I think back to when I was reunited with a high school friend after many years. We used to love to party and have a good time. But she was also now a Christian. We were driving together in my car listening to the radio. We glanced at one another and laughed. Little did we know years ago that we would be singing Christian music and lyrics and actually enjoy it.

He changes our heart’s desires as we remain in Him. Oh how I love that!

So, may I get personal? Are you remaining in the Vine? Or are you living in your flesh? Will you choose to cling to the Vine? Will you listen to His Word and obey it?

Our day to day, moment by moment choices determine how we walk with Jesus. I encourage you to make the choice to cling to the Vine.

debbieDebbie Petras is originally from Long Island, New York but she and her husband Greg now live in Arizona.  She worked as a cardiovascular nurse for many years but currently works with preschool children.  Debbie was greatly influenced by her Christian grandparents but spent many years living a life that didn’t reflect her belief in Jesus.  At her grandmother’s funeral, Debbie felt the Lord speaking softly to her heart. She returned to church and began reading her Bible.  Life began to change as her love for Jesus grew and began to spill over to others.  Matthew 5:16 became one of her favorite Scriptures “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” She enjoys sharing her faith and writing on her blog Heart Choices as she inspires and encourages others.

 

 

 

19 Responses to Cling to the Vine

  1. Debbie,

    I pray in the Name of Jesus that God will send eyes to read, hearts that need to be touched and drawn into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, right to this message you wrote from your heart.

    Thank you for being such a blessing! Love you.

  2. I am in total agreement with your prayer Lisa. May He be glorified. I am still continuing to grow and learn and I love that we can share from our heart here. May we encourage one another as we run this amazing race. Love you Lisa!

  3. I love the hopeful truth of your post, Debbie. Like you, I am often dumbfounded by how dramatically changed are my desires, as well as by the methods the Lord uses in moving me along the path He ordained for me. Seeking first His kingdom is the root of any success I might achieve or claim; and not seeking it is often at the core of my stumblings.

    Bless you!
    Kathleen

  4. I am so with you on this Kathleen! It is only because we of Him that we can walk along the path He ordained for us. He saves us by grace. But He doesn’t leave us alone but desires to walk with us. Amazing love!

  5. This really struck me this afternoon: “Our day to day, moment by moment choices determine how we walk with Jesus. I encourage you to make the choice to cling to the Vine.”

    Day to day, moment by moment… it adds up. Such great, equipping thoughts!

  6. Hi Debbie! I love the explanation of our desires. I never heard it described that way…how we don’t have a license to ask for anything we want. Interesting! Instead we will learn and be graced to ask for what he wants. That is a long journey.

    Sometimes I live in the flesh, sometimes in the Spirit. I am not perfect, and never will be. But, I can get back on track faster if I am open to God’s saving grace.
    Thoughtful post!
    Ceil

    • I’ve found Ceil that when I am clinging to the Vine, He changes my desires. And then I begin to pray His will instead of my will. It makes a big difference in my prayers. Thank you for stopping by and adding your thoughts today.

  7. I so agree Debbie, and you are a beautiful example of one who is staying connected to jesus though life has brought many ups and downs your way. I smile when I see that blond swingy hair and your smiling face. I always know there will be words in your blogs that both encourage and challenge. It’s for sure that the things we desire the most will only and always grow as we stay connected to the vine. Knowing that, you would think that we would never head off on our own, yet we do. It’s a miracle of grace that He loves and forgives, and it makes us want to cling closer than ever. 🙂

    Love you!

  8. Hi Debbie! Oh, I’m clinging to the Vine, that’s for sure! It seems that in recent months my grasp is even tighter than before. I know that staying close to God is the only way to make it through the trials in life…He is forever faithful! Last week I had a very “interesting” (ok…challenging!) week. I found myself asking God why all these difficult things were happening. I asked Him if he were testing my faith. “No”, was His answer. His is growing my faith. Like you said, pruning is a hard and painful thing. But, the result is beautiful new growth that brings glory to God.

    Blessings, Joan

  9. I was touched by your reference to the need to cling to the vine…in my life the pruning has, at times seemed very hard to bear. But I have also learned that once the hurt heals, and we look back on how He
    has never left us or forsaken us…it becomes a scar of beautiful growth and testimony! Bless you for a truly uplifting blog.

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