Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A little pruning

I wanted to prune back a big Pyracantha bush and Tuesday is yard waste pick up, so I began to prune and soon realized that there were much more pruned branches than my container could hold. I had a pick up load.  An earlier lesson was about conforming to Christ and removing things in our life that do not belong. Let's go to John 15. We may see a few twigs to prune in our spiritual life, but the Father sees a lot more that needs to be removed. We may not understand when hard things come our way, but it just may be the Father removing things in us or building something new from our roots in Christ.

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

If the branch is no good, unfruitful, it is taken up, lifted up, taken away. A person who continues to walk in sin and will not repent, will be taken up; every branch in Christ that does not produce fruit, he takes away. Jesus earlier used the example of the unfruitful fig tree:

Mat 21:19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

Paul adds to this theme, concerning an unrepentant sinner being taken by death.

1 Cor 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Note, that the destruction was the flesh, not the soul. This helps us see that it is Jesus' blood that saves; this person at one time had received the Lord, and only by God's grace in Jesus was he not totally consumed.

...and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

No one likes to have difficulties in life, but out of these we grow to rely on God and we become more like Jesus. The Father disciplines us. He purifies or prunes these branches.

He 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

1 Pet 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

We like to think that living for Christ is all about prosperity. It is true that we receive all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. However, we must submit to his will and follow him. Our sanctification, our holy life, our godliness will bring persecution, but it will be worth it all when we see Jesus face to face. Let us allow the Father to prune us and we will conform to the image of Christ so when we are put to the fire we may come forth as pure gold. His love is pure in us.

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