Beware the foxes

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5,8)

John Calvin said a dog barks when he sees his master attacked. Why would we ever think God wouldn't raise a ruckus when the enemy of our soul even attempts to snatch away one of his own? Those who remain in him can always be assured of his protective oversight in their lives. We have a protected relationship and one that is intended to be quite productive. It is no wonder our enemy wants so badly to get at us! 

To remain indicates a specific state is met and maintained. In other words, we don't move from where are because it is a place specifically designed for us - a place designed for his presence to dwell. If we want to go beyond that protection, we will find ourselves kind of on our own - outside of the place where the best fruit can be developed in our lives. Maybe this is why we haven't produced fruit - we have 'detached' ourselves from the vine long enough that we are drying up.

Some think 'remaining' means you will be 'stuck' doing the same things, in the same way, in the same place. To God, 'remaining' means a vital, growing relationship. We don't remain the same - we are always changing. A branch attached to a tree doesn't remain the same year after year. It lengthens, thickens, grows new leaves, drops old ones, and even produces some type of 'fruit' while attached. It is a 'life-cycle' that is being 'lived out'. God asks his kiddos to 'live out' this spiritual life-cycle close to him.

Much fruit - not just a little here or there, but a bigger and bigger harvest as long as we remain in him. This only happens because we make a place for him in our lives at the center of our lives. The vine produces fruit because it has a good root. The vine is important, but the root is foundational to all growth. "Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!" (Song of Solomon 2:15) There will always be 'little foxes' attempting to disturb that connection between the vine and the root. God's instruction to us is to be alert to their presence, then to catch them before they go to work!

We might not realize just how hard our enemy is working to sever that relationship of connection but be sure that he is there. The foxes aren't easily seen in the vineyard, for they can hide deep within the vines. Sometimes sin hides deep within our hearts - working to destroy the root of grace, freedom, and peace that God plants there. Don't forget to look for the foxes - their presence is never welcome! Just sayin!

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