Bible Reference: John 15:1-2
Translation: Amplified Bible (AMP)
Bible Text: I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. 2 Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
OBSERVATION: This is a passage that most have either read many times before, or have heard preached about. But I trust that, like me, your eyes might be opened to new truths as we meditate on the living Word of God again today. I was especially touched by the way that the Amplified Bible clarified some of the text, in parenthesis. Ask God to open your eyes, and your heart as we seek His guidance on this day.
APPLICATION: As God got my attention on this familiar Scripture today, I believe He pointed out the various conditions of natural man:
1). Down in verse 5, Jesus refers to the man who is apart from Him, and He said that such a man could do nothing. I am very troubled when I hear the unsaved tell a friend who is in trouble that they will pray for him/her. Without looking down my pious nose, I am thrilled that the idea of prayer before a holy and righteous God might be appealing on behalf of a friend, but please be careful in doing this while totally ignoring that same God in your own personal life. I am definitely not God, so I have no idea how God must handle requests like that, but humbly I would suggest to my friends that might be reading this blog today to please honor my God by respecting His holiness and therefore ask that He cleanse you personally before you consider asking Him for something on behalf of your friends. I don’t believe that this is an unreasonable request dear friend, because even to your parents would not afford the same privileges or recognition to strangers walking up to their door, like they did for you and your siblings;
2). In verse 2, Jesus tells us about the one who distances themselves from Him and stops displaying the character of God, and who no longer displays the fruit of the Spirit, as taught about earlier in His Word. To this believer, Jesus said that He would trim that branch off from the tree. Does that sound severe dear friend? What would you do when a spouse who lives in your home, yet dates someone else and spends more time with them than you? They have no respect for you or your home? Would you trim that individual off from your home? Do they really care about you or your home?
3). To the one who is honestly and sincerely displaying the fruit of the Spirit, I was excited that Jesus taught that He would seek to make this one even more fruitful! However, note that He said that He would still do some trimming and pruning, so that we might become even more fruitful. What does this mean? I believe it means that God will trim away those bad habits that we may have developed from the company we’ve kept, or the laxity that is trying to overcome us in not wanting to be around God’s kids as often as before, or perhaps distancing ourselves from those who need Jesus. Friends, when we think about being a saint, or a child of the one true God, and we therefore endeavor to act, speak and work like Jesus did, don’t you think that there might always be some rough edges that requires the miraculous hand of God to cleanse and redirect? I often feel powerless to overcome these inconsistencies, and I’m sure that you might also be the same. Oh for a closer walk with my Lord each and every day, is my humble plea. Think about what you may need of God today my friend!
PRAYER: Dear God, I pray that this devotional will reach the hearts of many, and that each will fit in one of the three categories that, I feel, you covered in Your Word that I studied today. Thank You for speaking to my heart as I read, and as I shared in my thoughts while writing this devotional. I believe that You desire representatives here on earth that need more of You in their lives each day. Please fill us anew, so that we may introduce or remind others of who you are. With great anticipation, we look forward to one day being at Your feet, with all our friends and family kneeling next to us! Oh what a glorious day that will be! AMEN!