Spring rains brought on a growth spurt in my old grapevine. While gardening Saturday evening I noticed an offshoot making its way up the nearby apple tree. Ringlets of vine — tendrils — spiraled around tree branches as it climbed, securing the vine before venturing farther on its pursuit of strength and growth.
I paid attention to the climbing.
Higher and higher, stretching toward the heavens.
New leaves glistened like silk in the sun, some still tinged with rose from its bud — brand new growth preparing to support the fruit.
And then my spirit stirred. I knew it was a God-moment.
Just that morning I read 2 Peter 1:5-8:
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith. Virtue. Knowledge. Self-control. Perseverance. Godliness. Brotherly kindness. Love.
The visual I had often seen of this verse was that of a ladder, climbing rung by rung as we mature in Christ.
But now I could see its rich truth in a different light.
The grapevine was intentional — diligent — about its growth. It stretched to each level and secured itself with the tendrils so that once the fruit of its labor was born, the vine could support it.
And each tendril was as important as the one before, having the same purpose: securing the vine to support the fruit.
Just as each attribute of faith.
The Message says it this way:
So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.
I want to be diligent in my pursuit of faith.
I want to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.
And when our paths cross I want warm friendliness and generous love to reach out across our differences so that God might be glorified, and the Body of Christ might be unified.
I want it to be as natural as I breathe.
Perhaps that’s how the grapevine works: the life-flow within the long, brown tentacles urges it forward in its pursuit to produce fruit. The vine only needs to yield to its Creator.
I sense an urgency in my spirit. Do you?