May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation — the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ — for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Philippians 1:11 (NLT)
The movie A Walk in the Clouds is a romantic drama from the 90s, set in California wine country. It’s the usual boy-meets-girl-and-love-overcomes-obstacles story, but there’s one scene burned (literally) into my memory.
The girl’s family has lovingly tended their vineyard for generations, and the existence of many families depends on the harvest. One night, there’s a fight between two of the main characters, a lantern is knocked over, and in minutes flames race along rows and rows of grapevines, hungry lines of fire running over the hills and valley, devouring the vineyard.
Sometimes I feel as though that’s what happens to my vineyard. I’ve tended the fruits I want to grow, the mercy and kindness and gentleness and patience and forgiveness and love. Then along comes the enemy and shoots flaming arrows into my vines — arrows burning with anger, rage, malice, greed, and idolatry. Fires burn everywhere and threaten to destroy the fruit I’ve worked so hard to bring to harvest. And, sadly, the enemy doesn’t even have to stand outside the walls to aim his arrows … he shoots them from the depths of my own darkness.
Now, the really good news is that this dark picture I feel is not truth! The truth is, this is not my vineyard, it is Christ’s. I no longer live, but He lives in me. He is the one who tends lovingly, bringing the fruit to harvest. All depends on Christ, not me! The enemy will always attempt to burn and destroy, but Christ is greater than the enemy.
In the movie, one vine survives — the one vine originally brought from Mexico that gave birth to every other vine on the hills — and still holds life after the fire. Christ is the life-giving vine; He is the one who brings a harvest of abundant fruit. No matter how long and hard we work, we cannot produce the harvest ourselves. He is the one who plants and tends and grows.
That’s how we live, even in earthly bodies encumbered by old human natures. We trust in Him, who lives in us. We continually seek Him, and He brings power to us when we’re weak and gives us new strength.
All glory and praise to God and God alone!
Read also: Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:6,7,10; Psalm 105:4; Isaiah 40:29-31; John 15:4-5