John 15:1-4(NIV) “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.”
This is the time of the year when many people clean their closets, donating the clothing they haven’t worn in the past few years. When we purge our homes of the clutter prior to decorating full out for Christmas. We donate the “things” in our homes that no longer serve their purpose, are unnecessary and no longer bring us pleasure. A pruning of sorts as we make way to enjoy the magnificent splendor and lights of our Christmas decorations. One of the many ways we begin preparing to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.
Just as we “prune” to make way in our homes for Christmas, Jesus prunes the things in our lives that prevent believers from bearing fruit for his kingdom. He prunes away the things in our lives that are a barrier to intimacy with him. It is through the pruning that Jesus can prepare us for the magnificence of the future. A future which will yield peace, fulfillment, and joy.
Jesus calls himself The Vine and we as believers are his branches. We need him to grow spiritually, to do the work he has called us to do, and we need his sustaining power through it all. Our life blood comes from him, the Holy Spirit within us, pumping life and energy into our veins. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to how we can serve the Lord, lighting the way and giving us the spiritual gifts to accomplish that to which we are called. Our callings are as unique as the ways in which God has created us. Some of you are called to serve the Lord through your job, shinning his light in the business world. Others are called to stay at home and raise a family and still others are called to serve him as missionaries in their neighborhoods or overseas. There are many spiritual gifts that God gives, each one specifically suited to the individual he created. (Romans 12:6a)
I know from personal experience it can be difficult to discern what that calling may be. I even know that the calling may change as time passes. I have found it difficult to wait upon the Lord to reveal a new calling for my life since our children have grown. I am realizing that God often gives me new direction by pruning away the things in my life that get in the way of bearing fruit for his kingdom. He prunes away the obstacle in my life that prevents me from seeing what he is calling me to do.
Interestingly enough, if we are not connected to and resting in The Vine that is Jesus, we will miss the pruning that is for our good. We may see the pruning as a disappointment when what we hoped would happen fails or maybe we just see it as bad luck. Or sometimes we continue trying to reopen a door that has been firmly closed, thinking we could try another way to make it happen right now. Because we often continue to wallow in the disappointment or try to reopen a firmly closed door, I believe we are missing something better around the corner. I believe we are missing a greater blessing from God that would bring us more joy than we could imagine. A fulfillment and peace because we are walking in God’s will.
How connected are you to Jesus today? Do you know him as The Vine, your life giving blood? Take the time to read John 15:1-17 and rediscover the magnificent love he has for you.