Prayer Focus: Spain

Bible Reading: John 14-17

Scripture:

6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.2 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.3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.4 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.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8)

Observation:

It seems to me that no matter if you are producing fruit or not, God will bring out the shears.  The true question is whether you will be cut back or cut off.  There is no escaping the gardener.  Jesus had just said in the chapter before in verse 6, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me.”  The  metaphor here in this section is his word picture to describe this truth.

We are all big fans of the famous John 3:16 verse “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life”  And that verse talks of the sacrifice that both the Father and the Son made on our behalf.  Where Jesus sacrifices himself for us.  But part of the “remain in me as I also remain in you” part is that we sit still for this pruning process, willingly sacrificing the parts of ourselves that are not in line with the purpose and will of the Father.

When it’s done to a healthy plant (in keeping with the metaphor) the sap that carries the nutrients is then diverted to make the plant more productive.  The wounds seal and the vines thicken, making a sturdier structure, more able to support the weight of fruit.  The total shape of the plant reflects the intent of it’s purpose.

Application:

This observation of course begs the question, “What does the cutting room floor of my life look like?”  What shape has my life taken?  Have I spent time looking at the choices I’ve made?  Have I submitted to the gardener and allowed my life to reflect a life that cultivates the fruit of His Spirit?  Galatians 5:22-23 list what those fruits are.  That’s the litmus test isn’t it?  Do I call myself a Christian?  If I do, am I producing the kind of fruit that pleases God and other’s can see?

Prayer:

Father God, I declare you as my gardener.  I submit to you and the weeding and pruning you must do to make me fruitful.  Sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes I really don’t understand why you do what you do, or allow things in my life that shape me.  I only know that I trust you.  Help me have the courage to sit still when you pull out the shears.  Help me agree with you on what sin is, and not spin it as something that’s not that bad.  Expose the things in my life infected with sin and need cleaning out.  Amen!

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