If you’ve walked with Christ for any length of time you have probably experienced dry spells. You pray, you read, you attend church, and seek fellowship. But it seems you’re just going through the motions and get little out of it. God seems far off, the heavens closed.
I’ve been in my own dry spell lately. And while I hated it, I’m also grateful, because I learned a lot. So I’d like to share what I learned about quenching dry spells, based on Christ’s parable of The True Vine.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me.”John 15:1-2,4 WEB
4 lessons from the grapevine on quenching dry spells to enter renewed abiding:
1. Keep abiding.
The only way for a vine to flourish and bear fruit is by staying attached to the root. Though poor soil and drought can stunt its growth, it continues to take in nutrients. But as soon as its connection to the root is severed the vine shrivels and totally dies.
Spiritual dry spells are really just symptoms of a deeper problem. They don’t mean you’re spiritually dead, though it may feel like it. Your spirit is probably absorbing more than you realize. So the main thing is to not neglect your spiritual connection. Keep reading and praying to keep that connection alive!
2. Shore up your pillars.
Grapevines essentially grow along supports made of poles with wires stretched between them.
Most vineyard poles here in our Mediterranean region are made of wood or cement poles with metal wires, which can all rot, rust, or crumble. So the grower must tear out and replace the old decaying supports, or the whole vineyard could collapse.
We also need the basic pillars of Bible reading and study, prayer and fasting, confession, worship, giving, fellowship, and service to uphold our walk with God. Without them, our growth languishes and becomes stagnant. So if these basic pillars are lacking in your life, take concrete steps toward establishing or reinforcing them.
3. Prune out the bad and excess.
Grapevines need continual pruning, and the best time for it is in late autumn or early winter before the sap begins to rise. In other words, during the seemingly dead season after harvest, and the leaves have died and fallen.
Removing the dead or long straggly branches to leave only the youngest and healthiest eliminates overcrowding. And allows the plants to get necessary air, light, and space they need for growing.
Our lives can get overcrowded too. We spread ourselves too thin and sometimes need to cut even simple things out. Like habits, hobbies, activities, or relationships that can disctract, eat our time, and inhibit growth, creating a spiritual dry spell. Eliminating the overcrowding and unnecessary distractions can help quench that dry spell and establish fresh abiding!
3. Climb upwards.
Grapevines grow upwards because they have an innate need of air, sunshine, and space. So the grower also reinforces the horizontal wires which allow them to spread sidewise and get more air and sunlight.
Like grapevines, we also grow best when we keep climbing upwards. In our busy world of doing it’s easy to lose focus, and we forget to keep looking up toward our goal. Our sense of purpose and meaning become clouded and we forget what we should really be living for.
So once we’ve cut distractions out of our lives, we need to replace them with constructive disciplines. But more is not always better. Instead of adding to your spiritual to-do list, try simplifying.
Remember that Christ often subtracted instead of adding. Follow in his footsteps – get alone with the Father and listen quietly for his voice in prayer and meditation.
4. Disconnect to truly connect.
I love how our surroundings here really help bring the teaching of abiding in the vine to life. But the slower pace of Italian living has also helped a lot too. These things continually help me remember that often the only way to really connect with God is to first disconnect with everything else.
Staying connected is the only sure path to a deeper walk of fresh vitality.
Like the grapevine we grow best when climbing upward!Tweet