“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
Ephesians 3:17 NLT
My husband and I had the privilege to be able to travel to Portugal this spring. The last day of our trip we took a two-hour train ride from Porto to the Duoro Valley, the famous winegrowing region. As the train approached, our eyes could scarcely take in the vast, steep mountains, rushing down to the edge of the powerful Duoro River. Each mountain was layered with terraces cut into its sides where rich grapevines grow that produce some of the finest wines and ports in Europe.
As we toured a lovely winery estate and stood among the vines, we were told that the older vines could be hundreds of years old and were very valuable, not only for the quality of wine they produced, but for their stamina against droughts, fires and disease. Though rigorously pruned back each season, their roots grew thirty or more feet into the shale ground, so they reach the water to sustain them, no matter the climate or circumstances.
I was reminded of the many times grapevines are used in the Bible as examples. There was certainly a spiritual lesson from these ancient vines. As we mature in Christ we may expect things to get easier and less “pruning” to take place. The Father is an excellent “wine” maker. He knows that only by continued pruning will his vines grow the deep roots into his love needed to sustain us in times of drought, when it is even hard to pray, or fire, when we feel like we will never survive the day. His love, like sweet, life-giving water will keep us strong when the winds of adversity and challenge threaten to blow us down.
So, if you are looking for signs of spiritual maturity in yourself, do not look to the surface signs of lush, showy leaves. Instead, look to the quality of the spiritual fruit you produce and to the length and strength of your roots into the Father’s love. Those roots will manifest in peace, love for others and quiet joy that nothing can deter.
Pray with me: Holy Spirit, please teach me how to rest in the Lord, to trust him more and more, so that the roots of my heart grow deep into his love. Father, fill me each day with your unfailing love so that I may overflow with that same love onto others. Grow beautiful spiritual fruit in me that you can use to feed the people you will send me. In your precious name, Jesus. Amen.
Dear friend, be blessed to experience the love of God which is beyond understanding, so that you will remain strong and faithfully committed to share it wherever the Lord may send you. Amen.
May 30, 2019