Born with the surname, Savage, I lived it out the best I could. I adopted Steppenwolf’s song as my mantra, “Born to Be Wild.” Yet, this type of living left me wanting more. I sought fulfillment in friends, work, and parties, but I came out empty every time.
I longed to be nourished and loved. Exhausted with the wild life, I yielded slightly to the cultivated olive tree of Jesus Christ. But then I became afraid as I thought, “How can Jesus love me after all I’ve done? How can I be a part of this group of people who probably have never done anything wrong? How can I be a Christian?” With apprehensions, I ran away from HIM and I returned to the wild life though it was lacking.
I ran until this broken off branch started to wither. While lying there wasting away, I cried out to the only snippet of hope I ever met, Jesus. By God’s loving grace, He picked up this battered branch. He grafted me into the Root, who is Christ, where now I am nourished, loved, accepted and flourishing.
“…you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you” (Romans 11:17-18 ESV).
Do you know that a wild olive tree cannot bear tasty fruit? It is sour and good for nothing. Wild branches must be grafted into the cultivated tree in order to bear good fruit. The cultivated tree represents Jesus Christ. He is the Vine in whom we are to live.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. (John 15:4-6, ESV)
To abide in Christ is to be engrafted into Him. He desires to give each one of us life—an abundant life. When we are grafted into the Root, Christ Jesus, He supports and nourishes the branches—those who abide in Him. We who are in Christ are privileged to be called as beautiful as an olive tree! (Hosea 14:6) A rich, elegant tree that bears much fruit.
No matter where we have been or what we have done, we are accepted through the repentance of our sins in Christ. By God’s grace, He made a way for us to be called Christian. He desires that we remain in Him always pursuing of a fully engrafted life.
Shonda Savage Whitworth encourages others to live fully engrafted lives in Christ through her speaking, teaching and writing. She serves as a Columnist and Editor with Take Root and Write, an Editorial Assistant for the CLASS Communiqué, and is a contributing author to Moments of Grace: true stories of those touched by God’s grace. She is a CLASS Certified Personality Trainer. Currently she is writing and teaching a Bible study from manuscript called Wild Grace. You can learn more about Shonda at her website, Engrafted by Grace.