“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-4 NIV
My dad is one of my heroes! He is a hard-working man who manages his own landscape business. A good gardener knows that in order for a plant to grow healthy, it must consistently have its branches pruned from the old, diseased and dead elements. Our heavenly Father is much like a gardener. He prunes the things in our lives that belong to our old diseased nature, in order that we would grow and bear more spiritual fruit.
The process can be painful as the old seems the so much more comfortable, yet the end result is gloriously breath-taking. In MacArthur’s commentary in this verse, he points out why we must not fret our beloved’s pruning, “The knowledge that the Father uses the pain that Christians endure for their ultimate good should eliminate all fear, self-pity, and complaining.” He goes on to say, “And suffering is merely the handle of the Father’s knife; the blade is the Word of God.” The motivating vision is one of our majestic Father, like in a garden, working on adorning us with the blade that will bring about fruit as we are nourished by Christ and His Word. It’s so encouraging to stop in the mists of the trials and busyness of life, and think about God’s uttered words to us from Scripture. We all know Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work out for good to those who love God…” but do we remind ourselves of these words when all around nothing appears to be working out for any apparent ‘good.’ Moreover, do we read on to verse 29 which reveals what the ultimate good is—to radiate more of the splendor of Christ!
Any real beauty and fruit we may exhibit finds its source in our Vine—Christ Jesus, the Lord. When we try in our own efforts to muster up strength or good fruits, we fail miserably. See apart from Christ, our faith is self-centered, meaningless and burned up like waste when it comes down to it. At the end of our lives the only thing that will make a remarkable difference is who we are placing our trust in—Christ or our own hopeless efforts. Even in our best merger attempts, our deeply entrenched sin alienates from the life-giver and repulses him to the point that he cuts off anyone who would refuse to abide in Christs’ finished work on the cross. In stark contrast, we are abundantly blessed when we abandon our selves, love and truly abide in Christ whole-heartily. Thankfully, we need simply look to Jesus and remain steady after him. Then, we will be found abiding in the Vine, and pruned to bear the joyful and fruitful witness of possessing eternal life.
Our Majestic Father, God of all creation, our Rock, You alone are our well-spring and source of life. Please forgive us when we are tempted to disconnect from Christ and go astray from your Word. Thank you that you have given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ and that He is our high priest who sympathize with our weakness and intercedes for us. Thank you that through Jesus death, burial and resurrection we may be forgiven of our sins and grafted into your family tree! We ask for our children to be part of your eternal family too. We lift up to you Merlin Church as they continue to seek a pastor that would be faithful to teach them your Word and how to abide in your truth. May we continually come to you, and be steadfast, unmovable and unshakable in our faith–that Christ may get all the glory and we be productive and joyfully fulfilling the kingdom work you’ve appointed to each of us. In Jesus name.