The Trellis: Explained


If you read my first post on this topic, you’re probably wondering how exactly the Church relates to grape vines and how it’s essential to bearing genuine, John 15 fruit.

First of all, notice I have always used a capital ‘C’ in the word Church. This means I am referring to the body of believers the Bible refers to as the Church as opposed to the actual church building or Sunday service most people associate with the word.

This is important because realizing the difference between being a part of a Church congregation and being a part of a Church family is the first step to seeing real, lasting fruit in your life.

Much like a grape vine, in order to see valuable results in the life of a Christian, a structure must be in place from day one to train the branches to grow the most productive, beneficial way. The absence of this structure, even for a day, can result in undirected growth which can lead to many unnecessary fruitless seasons. For a grape vine, this structure is the trellis. For a Christian, this structure is the Church.

So many times, we as believers want to grow on our own. We want to enjoy an online service from the comfort of our own home and never really let ourselves be a part of an actual church family. It’s not a sin to miss church. But not allowing yourself to be a part of the structure God has put in place for your own benefit is only detrimental to you and the harvest you’re hoping to yield. Lacking this type of structure is the difference between an amateur gardener who only yields a few grapes to feel a sense of achievement amongst his friends and a commercial vineyard owner who produces enough quality fruit to make mass quantities of the finest wines distributed around the world.

It all starts with allowing structure to exist in your garden.

The first responsibility of a trellis is to lift the grapes from the ground, fully exposing them to the sun and air. If you were to study the development of grapes, this exposure to the elements is necessary for two reasons.

One, the amount of sun the branches need to photosynthesize will never be reached if the entire branch isn’t exposed to the sun. If half of it was lying on the ground, under grass or only half-exposed, the fruit that comes about will never fully ripen, will be under-developed, and will never impress anyone enough to want the fruit at all. This is true for Christians as well. Friends and leaders will expose you so much more to Jesus than you could ever do on your own. No matter how much the vine tried, without a structure to climb on, it would only ever be half-exposed to the sun and only partially valuable.

Did you know that there is a moisture-loving fungus that thrives amongst grape bunches and vines that aren’t exposed to air? With full exposure, the air is able to dry the plant out enough that the fatal fungus can’t exist in the fruit. There are so many things in this world that love finding under-exposed Christians to steal any amount of life or fruit they may have from them without showing the slightest trace they are there until it’s too late. Full exposure is the only way to be sure this type of disease is avoided all together.

That leads us to another reason the trellis is essential to producing quality grapes: Protection.

The act of being lifted from the earth protects the grape vine in many different ways. Firstly, do you have any idea how many ground-dwelling animals and insects there are that love grapes? Being attached to this structure allows grapes security against these dangerous predators. The fact is, being consumed by these guys not only eliminates the actual fruit, but because the seed lies within the grape, it eliminates any chance for future fruit to return. Scary, huh?

Besides providing protection from predators, the Church actually provides protection from you. See, if a grape vine was to simply grow on the ground and have none of the issues I’ve mentioned before; the mere weight of the fruit produced would crush most of the new fruit being formed and would eventually stamp out the branch at its source. This is proven throughout history by the Christians who decide they want to grow on their own, allowing the weight of the entire system to rest on their shoulders. 10 times out of 10, this extinguishes the branch in the end along with many other surrounding, innocent branches. The structure of the trellis allows for the weight of the whole plant to rest away from the fruit and allows for maximum life and harvest.

Lastly, a well-designed trellis will allow suspension for the fruit. This suspension is vital in the formation of grapes for two reasons. This suspension allows for easy access. Farmers are able to see the production of the branches much easier, they can make repairs much quicker and more effectively, and when it comes time to harvest, the fruit is right where they need it to be to effortlessly take to the fruit to where it’s needed. How many people have talent and gifts coming out of their ears, but never seem to have it affect anyone? Allowing the Church to work with you, allows for your talents and results to be easily seen by those who can put them to use. A grape is no good for a wine lying under a bunch of leaves hidden from the gardener’s view. If you want to really affect people’s lives, get where leaders can see what you got! Let them in your world and you’ll be put in the best place to draw fruit out of your branches!

Finally, the gravity that keeps the fruit semi-grounded helps pull the fruit into existence from the blooms. Without this gravity, many of the blooms never produce fruit. They are just could-haves. A well designed Church will allow for a similar suspension where you rely on the vine for your nutrients, but gravity to keep you grounded, forcing fruit out of you. Living life in reality, but supernaturally at the same time, is what the Christian is all about. A good Church will keep you grounded when you need it, but keep you connected to the miracle of Jesus when you need it more!

You see, the trellis seems like it’s a structure to just keep grapes in line and give them something to do while they exist between seasons, but if you actually look into it, without the trellis vines would never produce the fruit they do. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus required fruit from us, knowing exactly how the trellis worked and how he was leaving us with a full-proof way to produce mind-blowing crops harvest after harvest.

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