Wednesday, August 28, 2013

growing God's way



Years ago I read Bruce Wilkinson’s book Secrets of The Vine and was once again driving to study the truth of John 15.  It is in these verses that I began to understand the difference between discipline and pruning.  Discipline comes when you do something wrong and need to be corrected.  Pruning is the process of being prepared for growth.

Both discipline and pruning are part of God’s work in our lives to make us more like His son.  Pruning doesn’t hurt as bad.  It is in the verses below that this process comes alive, and remember that the outcome is fruit for the glory of God and not for ours.  Read on:

1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer.  He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes.  And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
“Live in me.  Make your home in me just as I do in you.  In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches.  When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.  Separated, you can’t produce a thing.  Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.  But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.  This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
9-10 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me.  Make yourselves at home in my love.  If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love.  That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.
11-15 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.  This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.  This is the very best way to love.  Put your life on the line for your friends.  You are my friends when you do the things I command you.  I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning.  No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil.  As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
17 “But remember the root command: Love one another.

Spend some time today reading and re-reading this passage of scripture.  You might want to print it out or grab a Bible and do some highlighting.  When we remove ourselves from the presence or from the process of God, we find that growth cannot happen.  Yet God has called us to Himself and prepared us to grow in awesome ways.  The more time in His presence, the more of His love flows through our lives and more people experience God personally.

May your life and mine bear fruit for the glory of God!  And may that fruit remain for eternity.

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