July 1

John 15:1-3 1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

We begin with another "I AM" statement of Jesus, "I am the true vine". Jesus taught us to see Him everywhere, in water, bread, light, gates, and vines. They are all a shadow of the real, of Jesus. He created the world so that it would be full of reminders of all that He is to us. In Him we see analogies about Him in everything. It is hard to not fix our eyes upon Jesus because He is symbolized in the things we constantly encounter. If we will slow down and open our spiritual eyes, we will see that the earth is full of the glory of the Lord (Isaiah 6:3).

Jesus tells us our relationship with Him is analogous to a vine and its branches. God the Father prunes away branches that don't bear fruit. Either they have no life in them, or they exist for another purpose. Professional pruners know which branches are not serving the purpose of the gardener. They have no fruit buds. The shade they create keeps the light and air from the developing fruit on the good branches. That is why they are lopped off. But even branches that bear fruit can develop side branches that do not. They are pruned so that the nutrition will continue to go into the fruit bearing areas. They are pruned to aim them into the light. That makes them even more fruitful.

Is God pruning some area of your life or ministry? That is because it is a distraction. His purpose is to make you more fruitful. He prunes you through His word. The Greek word "clean" in verse 3 also means "pruned." The Word of God will prune our lives, cutting away areas that are headed in the wrong direction, or have no potential to bear fruit. Are you allowing the Word of God to prune (clean) your life?

Challenge: Allow God's Word to cut away the fruitless areas of your life so that you can bear more fruit.