Do you want God’s best in your life? I bet the answer is “yes!” Keep reading and you’ll find out how to accept God’s best with open hands.
We are continuing the series of abiding in Jesus and learning what that looks like in our daily lives. When we started this series, we looked at some verses in John 15. Today we are going full circle and heading back to that same book and chapter. However, we are focusing on different verses today.
When we began this series, we started off with John 15:4-5, where Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Today we are going to look at several verses that surround the above verses. Keeping in mind the analogy that Jesus used when He said He was the vine and we were the branches, the specific topic that we are dealing with today has to do with pruning.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit … If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:1-2,6)
In the first two verses here, Jesus is talking about branches that are attached, but they aren’t bearing fruit. The words here pertain to each of us. It might not be fun to think about pruning, but it must be done if we want to bloom.
The last verse reminds me more of an intrusive ivy that isn’t part of the plant, but it wound its way around the plant anyway. There are many people out there who pretend to be followers, but they really aren’t. The good news is that God sees our hearts. He knows if we are genuine.
But even genuine branches need to be pruned sometimes in order to produce more fruit.
In our yards, we pull weeds, we remove the dead plants and branches, and we sometimes even have to cut away living growth as well. All of this is done to help our plants flourish, to bring more growth, and to produce fruit. In the same way, God will pull weeds from our lives. He will remove things that aren’t benefiting us. And He will sometimes even cut away good things in our lives, if they don’t fit our purpose.
Pruning can be painful at times, but we are in the loving hands of the Lord. He can see the big picture. He knows what pieces of us should stay and what should go. Every day that we are on this earth, God is molding us to become more like Jesus. And at times that will require pruning.
Part of abiding means pruning. If we want Jesus to grow good fruit in our lives, we have to remove things that get in the way. God wants all of us. So that means we might have to lay down things in our lives that take our focus away from Him. Even good things in our lives might become an idol. But times of pruning can actually be a sweet time as we learn to lean on Jesus. Running into His arms will bring us much comfort and peace, as we grow and become stronger.
Through this process, we learn that Jesus is all we need and He is enough.
And in a way, it is really amazing to think about the fact that the Lord loves us that much to want to help us grow and change for the better. What a loving God we have!
When you find yourself in a season of pruning, take time to prayerfully seek the Lord. Ask Him what it is He wants to remove from your life. Hold everything with open hands. When we are willing to let go of the old, we will have room for God’s best.
Dear Jesus, we come to You with gratitude in our hearts. We admit that it is not fun to walk through a season of pruning, yet we know at times it is necessary. We are thankful that You love us enough to help us change and grow. And we are so glad to know that You will hold us in Your arms as we walk through a time of pruning. And most of all, we are so thankful that this means You will help us flourish as You grow good fruit in our lives. Thank You! We love You! In Your name we pray, Amen.
Gratitude Challenge for 2022
If you want to end 2022 on a positive note, then perhaps you will consider finding several things you are grateful for each day, through December 31. You can either write them down, or simply say a prayer of thanks. When we walk in gratitude, we are pruning the negativity from our lives. We are growing good fruit of thanksgiving and joy, as we praise God for the blessings in our lives.
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas