If there’s one thing most Christians want, it’s to thrive spiritually—to flourish in their walk with God.
I have to believe the same is true for you…that you want to flourish and thrive in your spiritual life and your relationship with God. And God wants the same thing for you!
Naturally, the question is: How do you go about having a vibrant spiritual life?
In John chapters 15-18, God gives us four things that will enable you and me to thrive in our spiritual lives—if we believe, understand, and embrace them.
The first of those principles is found in John 15:1-2. Here is what Jesus says:
“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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
In this picture, Jesus is the true vine, the heavenly Father is the vinedresser, and we are the branches that get pruned so that we might bear much fruit. The point of this passage is that God wants us to bear a ton of fruit. But to do so, you and I must get clipped!
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a vineyard and learned how they prune grapevines, but I’ve had a little firsthand experience.
Years ago, we had this amazing grapevine growing along our wall. It had a big thick trunk and it sprawled across every part of the wall. But there was one problem. Even though it was beautiful to look at out of the kitchen window, it very rarely produced grapes. Sometimes we might get one little bunch, but most years it wouldn’t produce anything.
I was really frustrated that our grapevine produced nothing, so I talked to a friend who was skilled in growing grapes. When I mentioned my frustration, the first thing he asked was if I pruned the grapevine.
I told him that I had not pruned the vine, so he volunteered to come over and show me how to prune it. A few days later, he showed up with these clippers and started clipping. He kept clipping and clipping until there was nothing left but a stick growing out of the ground! I was sure he had killed our vine. Really! There was nothing but a stick! But he reassured me that he hadn’t killed it and told me to just wait to see what happened by the end of the growing season.
To my amazement—as the season progressed—our stubby vine began to grow and sprout. In fact, we ended up with so many grapes, we had to give them to our neighbors. We had more grapes than we could possibly eat! Friend, God wants you to be fruitful. But if you are going to be fruitful, you’re going to need to get pruned.
The question is: How does God prune?
In John 15:3, Jesus tells us, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
The word translated “clean” in verse 3 is the same word translated “prune” in verse 2. What Jesus is saying is that you and I are already pruned through the Word He has spoken to us.
Just as my friend clipped away the dead wood so that our little grapevine would put all its energy to grow fruit, so God wants to prune the dead wood from our lives so we can grow in Him. And the way God prunes us is through His Word.
Are you just getting by when it comes to your spiritual life? Order Pastor Bayless’ revealing message called “Growing Into Spiritual Maturity,” and discover four more principles that will enable you to thrive in your relationship with God. Available on CD, DVD, and MP3.