“Among the fruit to which Jesus refers is that of a changed life, which flows out of being partakers of the new life bound up in Christ. Abiding in Christ produces ‘much fruit’ that will last.”
I was about half way through this book and said to my husband, “I read a lot of books but this book, it’s…lovely.”
“God’s design for us is not withered, meager fruit. He doesn’t want wax fruit we have fashioned ourselves as decoration for our lives. Jesus says that if we abide in Him we will bear much fruit – the fruit of an authentically changed life, the fruit of impact and influence for Christ.”
Pastor Stanley Gale begins with John 15 and then expounds on the fruits of the Spirit as he walks us through Galatians 5:22-23 while adding humility and grace as his final chapters.
A Vine – Ripened Life is an opportunity to stretch our understanding of what it means to abide in Christ, the Vine, which produces such fruits in our lives – the ONLY way godly fruit is produced in our lives.
“A vine ripened life looks to the development of the fruit of the Spirit, cultivated by the hand of our heavenly Father in our union with Jesus Christ.”
For those who come from a background of works based theology and legalism, A Vine – Ripened Life will tend to your unbiblical striving like a warm blanket and cool pillow.
Pastor Gale undertakes the necessary task of understanding the pruning and cultivating that is imperative to growing in Christ-likeness. He offers counsel in a way that keeps us on the path and out of the ditch on either side; whether to avoid despair in our failures or avoid boasting in our fruition.
“The production of fruit will come through abiding in the Vine. Apart from Christ our efforts will be fruitless. So we pray. And we pray. We stumble and we pray still more. The power comes not from ourselves but from Christ, as Paul makes clear by his reference to our transfer from the bondage of sin to the Kingdom of Christ, through the Gospel of freedom.”
With almost lyrical prose at times, Pastor Gale presents definition to what sanctification looks like and how it happens. He reminds us of how wondrous our pilgrimage is and the magnificence of being infinitely tethered to The Gardener. Something many of us lose sight of in our day to day lives.
“Like a skeleton steel rebar reinforces concrete, so the faithfulness of God upholds us in our lives as Christians.”
Each chapter is vast with Biblical nuggets of quotable wisdom on how we abide and grow in our Christian lives. At the end of each chapter is a list of questions to provide deeper consideration that are challenging but also clarifying.
I personally appreciate his address to gentleness when it comes to leaders as he contrasts it with those who would be abusive to the flock. Offering a firm reminder of the Lord’s requirements of the undershepherds.
“Gentleness reflects how Jesus treats us. He came not to judge us – for who could stand? He came to be judged. He continues to treat us in our weakness and waywardness not with an iron fist, but with the firm grip of love. He does not manhandle us in our fears or sins or doubts or failures. He strives with us. He opens His arms to comfort us and uphold us. He is not safe. He is a warrior lion against His enemies. But He is a gentle Savior with those He loves.”
Written in a succinct and engaging format, A Vine – Ripened Life, is a refreshing reminder of who we are and Whose we are and the profound joy of abiding in The Vine.
I delightfully recommend A Vine – Ripened Life.
Purchase A Vine – Ripened Life