In January, I invited you to join me in the “My One Word” challenge for the year. Did you pick one? Have you experienced life lessons or seen a change in your perspective because of your one word? If so, I’d love to hear your story, so please share by leaving a comment. If you are following the blog by email, simply reply to the email to leave your comment. Thanks for sharing!
“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.
John 15:5 – NIV
My garden has been amazing this summer. I have a collection of brightly colored pots that showcase geraniums, coleus, daisies, hibiscus, ferns, and more. My favorite pots display a variety of vinca including white, lavender, pink tattoo, and hot pink halo. Drift roses, zinnias and vinca add color to my flower beds.
Still, the most amazing plant in my garden this season has been the old clematis vine that makes its home in the flower bed near my driveway. You may recall that I wrote about this 50+ year old plant earlier this spring in a message called “Vine.” As the clematis emerged from its winter hiding place, it sent forth tender shoots in search of something sturdy to cling to, a place for the vine to climb. As I watched the wispy tendrils sway in the wind, I was reminded of my one word, “Abide.”
For more than 50 years, the clematis had clung to a makeshift trellis attached to an old split rail fence, but now, the fence had rotted, its posts leaning precariously, ready to topple over in a strong wind. As we tore the old fence down, I wondered what to do with the clematis. With no time to build anything, my husband and I headed to Lowe’s and purchased an inexpensive iron trellis that we thought might work at least temporarily. The trellis had a floral design that offered a bit of yard art to boot. Inserting the iron grillwork into the ground near the emerging vine, I wondered if the plant would welcome this new offering.
The next morning, I had my answer. Overnight, the tiny tendrils had found the new trellis and wrapped themselves securely around the base of the structure. Each morning thereafter, the tendrils seemed to grow several inches overnight, creeping their way up the trellis. Soon, the vine had climbed the full length of the five foot structure, covering the trellis with thick green leaves and gorgeous lavender flowers. All summer long, the plant has continued to grow, producing a cascade of picturesque purple blooms.
While the plant has certainly been beautiful, that’s not the amazing part. What’s truly amazing is that the plant has never done this before. For the 31 years I have lived in this house, that vine has never climbed more than two or three feet. It usually produced five or six blooms in late May before withering away completely by mid-summer. In all the years that I have admired this little vine, I have never seen such luscious greenery or long-lasting blooms.
So what’s different this year? I can think of only two things. One, the vine has something solid to cling to, its tendrils latching onto the wealth of ornate grillwork within its reach. Two, because of the vinca I planted in that bed this year, I have watered that area frequently. With something solid to cling to and the right amount of water, the plant has flourished.
Once again, this little vine offers me another life lesson. When we cling to the right thing, we grow. When we find the right kind of water, we flourish.
Jesus reminds us that He is the Vine, and we are the branches. If we cling to Him, we will produce beautiful blossoms that yield good fruit. He offers us the right kind of water, living water that yields abundant life.
In this life, we cling to many things such as people, possessions, pride, or power. We fill ourselves with food, drink or entertainment hoping to fill our days with pleasure. Yet, none of it lasts, and much of it leads to destruction.
Every day presents new challenges and new opportunities. The choices we make determine the kind of life we will lead. If we want to find the abundant life, we must learn to cling to Christ. We must seek His living water, the only water that will quench our thirst. We must let go of our incessant need to control everything around us, and refuse to worry, choosing instead to believe in God’s sovereignty and to trust in His good plan. Ultimately, we must learn to abide.
Abide, my one word for this year. That new trellis and that old vine have been a living testimony, reminding me to cling to Christ and partake of His living water that brings new life. When I abide in Christ, He abides in me, and that, my friends, is the key to the abundant life.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
John 15:4 – ESV
O Most Gracious God, thank You for the gift of Jesus Christ, who came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. Teach us to cling to Christ, to partake of His living water. Help us to abide in Him that He might abide in us.