“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”
So much about the Kingdom of God is counter-intuitive to our natural school of thought. The more I dig deeper within the gospels and the teachings of Jesus, the more inverted it seems to the eye. For example:
““You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Matthew 5:38-39
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
And then we run into the moments of success. As we are a part of the tree in which Jesus is the true vine and The Father the gardner; as we grow, we have parts of us shed away. Again, not everything in Jesus life and teaching makes all the sense in the world to the natural eye.
Pruning. This is a process that occurs where parts of the tree and branch are cut off and removed. Being pruned is not always the easiest of a process. There are times that the Father digs deep into our lives and begins to cut off some of the areas, fully ridding them from our lives. At a glance, it may seem as if this process may be based out of bad intentions. But it’s not. See, in order for a tree to grow to be a spectacle, a beauty, to grow into a tree that towers higher than all the trees of the field. With its boughs increased and its branches growing long, spreading because of abundant waters. A tree where all the birds of the sky nest in its boughs and all the animals of the wild give birth under its branches; with all the great nations living in its shade. Majestic in beauty, with its spreading boughs, with its roots going down to abundant waters. In order to be this compared to this tree spoken of in Ezekiel, there must be a process of pruning to be done.
The tree grows as we go deeper in our relationship with Jesus. When Jesus invites us to come deeper, we come with an abandonment, a surrender. It is an automatic response. In order to go deeper, we have to be stripped more and more. Pruned more and more; chiseled more and more. It may or may not be a painful process, but, it is always one that is worth it. To look more like Jesus, pruning must occur. If you want to look exactly like Jesus, your death must occur, that He may live. But one thing I can assure you of… The process can either be hard and painful yet still worth it, or one that occurs out of a place of rest and peace.
I know I am starting to sound like Jesus (which is a good thing), and that after saying it was painful, now it has a possibility for it not to be. But it is the truth. How? You ask. Great question. Here it is.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
It is all about resting in His presence; dwelling in the shelter of the Most High. . . Him! As we rest in Him, as we dwell in Him, as we enter His presence, the pruning then happens not through a ripping away or breaking off, but through a speaking of His word. We see this in John 15 where He states, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” The pruning happened through the word Jesus spoke to His disciples as a result of them spending time with Him. Dive into Jesus’ presence, seek His Kingdom and find His love to love Him in return. It is as you are with Him that you then become transformed to look more and more like Jesus, until the moment that you both become one.
Like a kernel of wheat, death brings about life. The truth is, you can only live where you have died.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it.”
What lies ahead is simple… Want to live? It’s simple, surrender your life to Jesus, then you will find life and truly live.
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