Abide – Part 6

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.

“To help us become more fruitful, God cuts away whatever is hindering the bearing of that fruit. This includes sin in all its forms, as well as anything that distracts us from the Lord or draws us away from Him.”

Dr. Charles Stanley

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.

Photo by Jose Alfonso Sierra on unsplash.com

© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

19 Comments on “Abide – Part 6

  1. I love the Charles Stanley quote. So true! Yes, it can be difficult to let go of the weeds in our lives even though they are no longer useful and hinder new growth. I’m really enjoying these posts on abiding, Bridget.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charles Stanley is one of my favorites. He always has amazing insight and wisdom to share. I agree, it can be difficult. Sometimes those weeds are good things and sometimes they are not. But either way, we often struggle to let go of our old patterns. I am thankful the Lord never gives up on us! Thanks so much for stopping by, Rainer! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like how you mentioned that sometimes God prunes back the good things. It can be difficult to let go of good things in our lives. But it’s sometimes necessary, because God wants to use us in another area. Plus He also wants to teach us to be obedient to Him. It can be easy to stay in a place because of familiarity, but when God calls, we have to listen. Thank you Bridget.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So very true, Dawn! It can be difficult to understand why God would want us to let go of something good. But we have to trust Him. He knows what is best for us. And He also is molding us as we take each step. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Dawn! 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know you’ve mentioned it before but it was so vivid this time, the image of standing before God with your hands open, willing to give Him whatever He wants and accept whatever He sends.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charles Stanley’s quote is really good. I do listen to his teaching often.
    It is hard to let go of certain things but we know that whatever the Lord prunes from our lives is for our good.
    It definitely keeps us leaning on him. Because it is hard to go through a time like that without his strength and comfort.
    I also like what you said that the Lord at times prunes back the good things – how true. I was reminded of something I read about Spiritual discernment which said it helps to differentiate between not only good and bad but also between good and best.
    The pruning of the good stuff reminds us not to tie our identity or purpose to that good thing and completely depend on him.
    A good word Bridget.
    Blessings my friend 💙🙏🏽💐

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made many good points, Manu. I love Charles Stanley. I always get valuable insight from his sermons and books. He really knows his stuff!
      I agree, pruning can turn into such a beautiful season, if we lean on Him. His love will help us to grow stronger and grow closer to Him.
      I love that about discerning between good and best. So very true. Too often we settle in life, but God offers us so much more!
      And I love what you said about not tying our identity or purpose to anything, but instead depend on Him. It can be painful to overcome those things we have to let go of, especially if they seem to be part of our purpose. We can feel lost. But when we learn to trust Him, He can heal us as we learn He is all we need. Thank you, Manu! I enjoyed this reflection! Blessings to you too, my friend 🦋

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love those verses from John 15:4-5…I’m doing a 30 day Christian meditation by John Eldridge and our verses were those ones for a few days and it was so nourishing for the soul.
    I’m always amazed at how gardening goes hand in hand with our relationship with God! Good stuff Bridget! Hard but so beneficial!!

    Love what you said here:
    Hold everything with open hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The 30-day program you are doing sounds fabulous! I will have to look for that. I agree, it can be so difficult to go through the pruning process, but the results are well worth it. And I have found that those seasons are so rich because when I look back I can see how much God had been beside me through it all. And through these seasons we learn to trust Him more. And that is how we can get to the point of holding everything with open hands. It’s amazing how God gently guides us to that point. Thank you, Alicia! You helped me to dig even deeper into this subject. ♥️🤗🦋

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good comment!! Learning to trust God fully is what I’ve been working on over the past year!!🙏
        I plan to write a post regarding the 30 day resilience meditation by John Eldridge. It’s found in his “pause app”though if you want a head start!! I can’t say enough good about it!!! Such a blessing! Can’t wait to blog about it!!

        Liked by 1 person

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