I'm a little shaky about the whole blog thing, but here goes. . .
The scripture basis for my Christian fiction novel, The Taste of Good Fruit (Walk Worthy Press/Harrison House), is from John 15, so I think there's no better way to start my blog than from there.
John 15:1 says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman."
A grapevine is a plant that bears many grapes from just one vine. The vine is rooted into the soil and needs nourishment to bring forth grapes. According to this verse, Jesus is the vine, and God is the gardener.
I've always wondered why Jesus says that He is the "true vine." Does this mean that there are other vines we can be connected to? I think so. We can get entangled in things that do not give us life and can even bring forth a slow and debilitating spiritual death.
Many times we don't have a difficult time identifying the "big" things that can destroy us spiritually and even physically. We know that things like stealing, lying, killing, cheating, doing drugs, etc., are wrong, but what about the more subtle evils we become connected to?
I think even those of us who are blessed to have been brought up in the church can be easily deceived because even religion, especially religion, can keep us from being connected to the true vine. It doesn't matter how many church services we attend, and it doesn't matter what position of power we hold in the church or outside of it. We must be real, and we must be pure in heart. He must come first. Remember that everyone that cries "Lord, Lord" will NOT enter into the kingdom of heaven.
It doesn't even matter how much money you have or how many friends love you. We all have to check ourselves.
I have found that an area of weakness for me has been in religion. I love church, and I love to work in the church. Many times I get so wrapped up in the activities in the church that I have to check my motives. I don't get brownie points for doing what I am supposed to do for the Lord--it's my reasonable service. I shouldn't do anything in the church for any other reason than to glorify God and serve Him. The Pharisees and Sadduccees were great at religion, but they weren't abiding in the true vine.
So, are you abiding in the vine? Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? When we are fruitful branches, we are spiritually productive. If we wonder if we really are connected to the true vine, there is a system of checks and balances in the Word of God; the evidence of our connection to the true vine is the fruit we bear.