Resting in God—abiding in his presence—is the only way we can be successful in what he has called us to do… Fruitfulness happens in stages and seasons: abide, grow, bear fruit, prune, abide… An apple tree, for instance, does not bear fruit for three years. Grape vines are pruned back and forced not to bear fruit for two to three years so that their root systems can be established… Growth must happen before fruit is produced. And growth comes from knowing how to abide… At the time of Jesus’ incarnation, a vine would be cultivated, planted, and left to grow for three years before being allowed to bear fruit. Every time it tried to bring forth a bunch of grapes, it would be cut back. After the third year, the grapes would be allowed to grow on their own. By then the branches were strong enough to support the weight of the grapes without breaking. After the harvest, the branches were pruned back for a time of nourishment and rest before the fruit-growing season began again… Left to its own plans, it would continue to grow, increasing in size but decreasing in strength, endurance, and health until it would be unable to hold the fruit it is intended to bear… From abiding we grow, from growing we bear fruit, from bearing fruit we are cut back.