Have you ever experienced that sinister fear that creeps into your mind telling you you’re no good, God is going to cut you off like a useless branch and burn you in the fire? Maybe if you hear the voice that says you’re lukewarm and God is going to spew you out of His mouth? If you have been a Christian long enough the chances are you have had the opportunity to feel this way.
So where does our fear or understanding come from? In John 15 Jesus talks about His Father being a farmer that takes care of a grapevine. The vine is Jesus and we are likened unto His branches. There are two key words He uses in this illustration – prunes and cleaned. Both words are the same in the Greek so here is my take on what Jesus is saying.
When you are in Christ, God is your Father and He tenderly cares for you and your life in Christ. Where there are areas in your life that are unproductive He will tend to them so that you can start bearing fruit. He will remove those things in your life that are not pleasing, and He does this through HIS WORD. Jesus clearly says we are, or have been cleaned, or pruned, THROUGH HIS WORD. In no way is He implying that YOU (all of you) will be cut off and thrown into hell. Hell has no part in this story!
The words “he taketh away” means to lift up, to raise up, and to take away. There is ONE thing that Jesus constantly “takes away” from us which is sin and our identification with it. When you hear Jesus speaking to you, His voice, His words, cleanse and purify you. As a result, sin is cut off, thrown into the fire and burned! Once sin is cut off you have been “pruned” and put in a position to bear much fruit! 😊
Bearing fruit is also symbolic and has to do with your CHARACTER becoming more like Christ’s. He is not referring to your good deeds in this context but your character. In Galatians Paul identifies the “fruit” that the Father desires for us to bear (display) in abundance.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its various expressions. This love is revealed through
Joy that overflows
Peace that subdues
Patience that endures
Kindness on display
A life full of virtue
Faith that prevails
Gentleness of heart, and
Strength of spirit.
Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. (TPT)
Coming back to John 15, if we are to interpret being cut off and cast into the fire as being a person, then we need to identify what type of person Jesus considers “dead” or “fruitless”. A person Jesus considers dead or cut off is an unbeliever, someone that has deliberately chosen not to connect themselves to Him. He will keep speaking and calling to them, but in the end, should they never decide to be connected to Him, they will be burned and cast into the fire. Always remember who Jesus is talking to. In this case He was speaking to His disciples, one of which was Judas Iscariot. In the crowd too, there were those who believed in Him and those that did not. The love of the Father was there for ALL of them.
John 3:16-18 For this is how much God loved the world – He gave His uniquely conceived Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to be its Saviour and rescue it. So now there is no longer any condemnation for those who believe in Him, but the unbeliever already lives under condemnation because they do not believe in the name of God’s beloved Son. (TPT)
Therefore, I encourage you to ask the Lord to “prune” you. Let Him deal with issues in your life. Let His word uplift and comfort you. Let His tender loving voice be your guide and He will lead you into the wide-open spaces of wonder and awe that come from experiencing Him. As you stay connected to Him in your heart and mind, you will find that your character will start taking on His nature and you will be a wonderfully fruitful branch!
Have a fruitful day! 🍏
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