December 26, 2020
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:1-5 ESV
Coming out of a life of addiction, I had to learn to trust and embrace the process of becoming Christ-like. My way of thinking and doing things had left me spiritually bankrupt, and I had made a mess of things. His ways are not our ways, and I was now having to learn His ways. Even after being delivered from addiction, I understood my way of thinking had always led me to use. My thought process and beliefs led me, more times than not, to make some bad decisions for myself. My way of thinking and doing things had to become transformed into this new life. This process included removing or pruning those things that were not beneficial to me. I now had to take up my cross and follow Jesus. That means embracing a process of change. Pruning is something that all Christ follows have to go through. It can look messy. It may feel painful at times. It may mean facing things we don’t want to in order to let go of those things that hold no value to where we are headed in life. We are trying to lighten our load to live a freer life and enter the straight and narrow path He has chosen for us. In the story of the rich young ruler ( Matthew 19: 16- 26 ), Jesus asked a wealthy young man to sell all he had, give it to the poor and follow Him. The man walked away, not being able to do it. He had too much he wanted to hang on to.
And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
(Matthew 19:23-24 ESV)
It wasn’t about the young man being rich physically, but he did not understand how poor he was spiritually. Jesus requires all of us to let go of those things that keep us from following Him, and He blesses those who understand their need for Him.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:3 ESV)
It may not make sense at times, especially when we feel we are in the right place spiritually and Jesus requires more of us. “and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
God is making something so beautiful out of us! Jesus said, – “ I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” He wants to dress us into something that benefits this world and gives life to it and to us. Even when it seems as if nothing is happening, He is always giving us the opportunity to go deeper and produce more fruit in our lives so that others may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven. Our lives are no longer our own; we have been bought with a price. Now we must follow Him, however, and wherever that may be.