I raise grapes. Actually, they are scuppernongs, but the process is the same. One Spring, several years ago, I was looking at my vines, very pleased with their Spring growth after my February pruning. Tiny leaves were sprouting out on every branch promising a rich crop in September. I watched them grow and mature from their tiny grape clusters with great pleasure thinking of the abundant crop these early beginnings promised. Then, one day in Summer, I noticed the leaves on one of the branches looked less vibrant than the others. Watching it over several days, the leaves began to whither and die. I continued to hope that the early promise of fruit would return, but the branch continued to decay until it became clear it was dead. I inspected the branch to determine the cause of this sudden and dramatic change. What I found was that I had left the twine with which I had trained the branch years before. Although the branch had grown around the twine and had continued to grow, the twine had constricted the ability of the branch from drawing nourishment from the main vine.
We must have a relationship with the vine, not the fruit. We must remove the training wheels at some point to allow the nourishment of God’s grace to flow, freeing us from the limits of what was meant to get us started, not to be a permanent fixture limiting our growth.