In 2015 my family and I traveled to Blue Ridge, GA to attend my cousins wedding. While there we visited Mercier apple orchard to pick apples. On the wagon tour of the farm the guide taught us that their apples were grown from dwarf trees, only about 8-10 feet tall. Essentially they are regular apple trees grafted onto smaller trees to provide faster growth and more fruit.
I learned from good ole’ Wikipedia that grafting is a horticulture technique where tissues of plants are joined together to grow as one. The scion is the portion grafted onto the rootstock. A scion, like Mercier’s apples, are often grafted onto such a root because it’s strength and durability are desired. Likewise, the scion is selected for the flowers and fruit it produces. To be successful, a grafted plant must become one in its vasculature of the root.
When I think of a woman who is grafted to her Creator, I think of our weak, helpless spirits becoming grafted to the rootstock of God’ strength at the moment we believe in Jesus. Jesus is the adhesive between the God root and our life branch. Like any graft it isn’t immediately strong, but with time and tending the two become intertwined, producing fruit that has eternal value. We may not even know we are attached to such a life giving resource at the time we first believe, and truthfully some of us may never tap into His full potential. Nonetheless, He calls us His own in that moment. We are born again, grafted into His family. After, that it is our decision to dwell in Him as securely as He is dwelling in us.
How do we strengthen our grafting?
Jesus often uses horticulture in parables to teach a point to His listeners. Is it because it was easily relatable during His time? I don’t know for sure. I do know that horticulture provides for us a practical picture to relate a spiritual principle. The Lord knew we would need such clarity from His Word. In John chapter 15 Jesus is speaking to the 11 disciples in the upper room and teaching them how to tend their graft to Him in order to produce fruit. He knew He would soon be leaving them physically making these some of the last poignant words He would say in His earthly body.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
He tells us to abide, dwell, remain, stay, wait with, and live in Him.
He is our Root. He does not change. He asks us to abide, but He says don’t worry you are secure in Me. Branch out and follow Me. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Stay with Me. Spend time with Me. Even when you wander, I am still here… your Root. Deep in the soil. Follow Me and I will produce fruit in you in your due season. Your leaf will never wither because it has eternal value. Whatever you do will prosper, because I am the true vine, you are merely a branch.
Dwell, remain, stay, wait and live with Me.
What many miss when reading this scripture verse is that the phrase “takes away” is translated from the Greek word, “airei” which literally means to LIFT UP. Similarly, the term “prunes” is translated from the Greek work Kathairei which means to cleanse. How great is our God? Even when we struggle He lifts us up! He doesn’t tear us down and kick us out of the family. Scripture makes it clear, we are clean because of our belief (v. 3). We know this because of many clear verses, but Jesus himself states in John 10:28, “And I GIVE them eternal life, and they shall NEVER perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” We are secure. Such blessed assurance He provides us.
How will we respond to that security? Will we react with laziness for the gift He gave, or will we respond with thankfulness? Will we keep our life for our own, or give our life back to Him as a living act of worship?
With this word, Jesus is begging the question, “I’m not going anywhere….will you tend your graft to me?”
Tending your graft and producing His fruit.
I remember the apples at Mercier were perfect, beautiful, and easy to reach. They were in huge bundles at the end of low hanging branches, easy for people to enjoy in their sweetness and feed off their nutrients. I’m sure this also increased their production and thus, a faster return on their investment.
A lack of a solid root structure and this would never be possible. We have access to the strongest root structure there is, the Creator of the entire universe. I challenge us all, Christian women, to tend the graft and offer the sweet nutrient dense fruits as an act of praise to the only One who deserves the credit. Invest into the eternal Kingdom of His future reign.
If you have no idea where to start, start listening to God in His word. Read through the Book of Psalms, one a day, and search for His evidence of how and when we should dwell or abide in Him. Read each out loud and pull out a verse that particularly seems applicable to your journey with Him at this time. Write it down. Memorize it. Talk to God through prayer. Find a mature mentor. Need more ideas? Stay tuned to this blog and email me with any questions.