"If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root" (Romans 11:17)
It is wonderful to know that we have been grafted into the amazing plan of God. Through faith in Jesus we have been chosen, called and set apart as his children and heirs in this world. Although once far removed from the promises of God, we have been brought into fellowship with him through Christ Jesus. Once contrary to God and wild by nature, God was able to graft us in, to partake in the blessings of Christ.
Paul uses an example of an olive tree and engrafted branches to illustrate his point. Once the branch is joined to the tree, it binds itself to the tree and takes nourishment from the roots just as the natural branches would. As the graft grows it becomes a part of the tree. After a while it is apparent that the branch is one and the same as the original tree. Paul has encouraged us with these words showing us that when we are joined into Christ, we became part of the promises spoken by God. We now receive our nourishment and life through the root which is Christ Jesus.
Jesus also spoke of these things in John 15. He said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" ( John 15:5-8 ). Once we are vitally united to the vine we will bear much fruit for the kingdom because of the life that the vine provides to us. When we live taking life from the very essence of God within us, then what is produced in our lives comes from that union. We can do nothing on our own and that is why it is necessary to remain united and joined to the vine drawing life from Him.
Once we are joined into the vine we start taking on the characteristics of the vine instead of the nature of our original state. The wild disposition that defined us before starts to fade away. Those things are removed just as a gardener would remove pieces of the branch that hinder its growth. This is a great byproduct of being joined to the vine. Jesus said that the Father prunes us so that we will bear more fruit. He cuts away these things that hinder our growth and are contrary to the kingdom. Jesus said in John 15, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" ( John 15:1-2 ). He went on to say that by the words that were spoken we were made clean. His teachings and his word are what prunes us, removing dead branches and works so that we will be more fruitful ( John 15:3 ). This is why it is necessary to remain steadfast in the vine drawing upon Him for the abundant life that he promised to us.
Paul understood the vital connection of living our lives drawing from the source of life as opposed to just surviving. This is why he reminds us that we are part of the promise, grafted in to the root, whereby our life is sustained. Today, I am thankful for this reminder. I praise God that he gives us the abundant life promised by Jesus. May you draw your nourishment from the root, flourishing and growing in all good things, amen.