In John 15, Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit."
Pruning is a six-stage Christian life-cycle:
You learn who God is. his son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior from sin, and his life was the example after which we are to model our lives.
Learn About God.
We read God's Word and study his life on earth. As a new believer, your sins have been washed away by the blood of the cross. It is only the beginning of a new life in Christ. It brings many changes as well as new challenges and trials.
We discover the gifts we have been given by the Father and begin to serve in different ways. Whenever we experience a change, it requires a "new normal." Changes such as stress, loss, or illness are a part of life since sin entered the world. Stress means we are alive! You can lose many things: a child, a spouse, innocence, hope or expectations. It is human nature to blame others, or God, for these times of pruning. But as with a tree, pruning is required to bring more fruit. When things seem to be going great, that’s when we should expect that God will look for better and more abundant fruit in our lives by the pruning process. Without pruning, a tree will not continue to grow and bring forth fruit. The branches need to grow stronger and the roots to go deeper. Just as it is with us—we are growing in faith and obedience. When you accept the difficult times, as well as the blessings, and go on to serve in new and better ways, God is working in you toward his purpose for your life--why He created you!
Sometimes the process becomes especially difficult. In these times we need to refocus on our Savior, drawing ever closer to God and the strength he gives us to get through it. We may become bitter or stray from our faith for a time, questioning God, others, and ourselves. But he waits for us to rediscover him and his purpose for our lives. He is always there.
Give Yourself to God.
If you were to describe Jesus, you could say that he was relaxed. Having righteous indignation, yes, but always at peace. While he lived with men on the earth—healing, teaching, and making disciples to carry out the Gospel—he took the time to rest in his Father's love and guidance. Take time to pray, to spend time with God and in his Word. Meditate on his teaching.
Deeply Abide in God.
There is nothing you can do while stressed that can’t be done better when you are relaxed and at peace.
- Listen to the message again on SoundCloud.
- Read and study chapter 15 of the book of John in the Bible.
- Consider and be prepared to talk to others about a time when you were pruned. How has it helped you produce more fruit?
- Join us for church next Sunday at 9 or 10:45 a.m.