Saturday, March 03, 2007

Day Five: The Fate of the Fruitful

“Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).

Yesterday we learned that the fate of the fruitless branches is that God the Father will eventually cut them off. He will remove all vestiges of their hypocrisy from the vine. He will reveal them for what they are, and punish them in hell for their sins (see v. 6). But what of the fruitful branches, what is their fate?

The fate of the fruitful branches is to bear yet more fruit, and the process by which they bear more fruit is called pruning. Consider this definition of pruning from the Department of Horticulture at Texas A & M: “Pruning, like any other skill, requires knowing what you are doing to achieve success [Praise God that he knows what he’s doing!]…Remember that pruning is the removal or reduction of certain plant parts that are not required, that are no longer effective, or that are of no use to the plant. It is done to supply additional energy for the development of flowers, fruits, and limbs that remain on the plant” (http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/pruning/pruning.html). In other words, it is done that they might bear more fruit.

The truth of the matter is that, even for those of us who are rightly connected to the vine, there remains much in us that must be cut away. And because of his great mercy and love toward us, the Father is willing to do whatever he must to cut what remains away. He uses as his pruning shears discipline, various sorts of tests and trials, suffering, the Word of God, the Body of Christ, and whatever else he deems necessary and appropriate to prepare us to bear more fruit (see Hebrews 12:3-11, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 4:12-19, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Romans 12:1-2). Such is the steadfast love of the Father.

Thus, the fate of the fruitful is that we must suffer, and we must suffer so that we can bear more fruit.

Prayer Focus: Pray to God that during these 40 days, and beyond, that he will do whatever he must to prune us for the bearing of more fruit, for the glorification of his name. Pray that he will gives us eyes to see his grace in the midst of the pruning, and willing hearts that will not rebel against his wise work in us.

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