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Have you, as a branch, been pruned by the Gardener lately? Probably so. God prunes every branch – that is every believer – to bear more fruit.
In John 15:2 Jesus states you’ll be cut off or pruned to bear more fruit. In the last post, we discussed what it means to be cut off but what does it mean to be pruned by God? You find the answer in reading the context. John 15:3; “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoke to you.”
The Greek word translated clean means clean, pure but also blameless, innocent and unstained with the guilt of anything.
Because of your union with Christ to be clean means:
- You are free from sin and guilt and
- You are blameless and innocent.
You are already clean
Jesus Christ is the lens through which the Father sees you. As Jesus is, so are you (1 John 4:17) therefore, everything that’s true about Jesus is true about you! This refers to your spiritual identity.
- God declares you clean. How clean? As clean as Jesus is!
- God declares you blameless. How blameless? As blameless as Jesus is!
- God declares you innocent. How innocent? As innocent as Jesus is!
God is a Spirit and relates to you in the spirit (John 4:24). In God’s eyes you are already as clean and holy as Jesus is. You will start to live clean and holy as you conform your thinking to God’s Word (Rom. 12:2).
For you to experience freedom from guilt and condemnation is to change your way of thinking from a law-mentality to a grace-mentality. Law says; “Go and try to be clean and innocent in your own effort. You need to try harder and do more.” This mindset is the quickest way to a guilt-trip.
When are you clean enough? “Never,” says the law, “just try harder to be clean and stay clean.”
Grace, on the other hand, says; “Come and rest in the fact you’re already clean and innocent and you’ll automatically start to bear Christ-like fruit.”
God’s pruning method
Pruning means to cleanse. It is to have your mind cleansed (or renewed) from a law-mentality that says, “I need to try to become clean, holy and Christ-like.” Pruning is to receive revelation that you already are clean and to allow your Christ-like identity to shine forth.
In short, making you aware that Jesus is your Source to bear fruit is God’s pruning method.
To be pruned is to receive revelation and live from the place that you are already clean, holy and Christ-like because, as a branch, you carry the nature of the True Vine within you (2 Peter 1:4).
How do branches bear fruit? Here’s the key: anyone who grows grapes will tell you that a branch doesn’t draw sap from the vine, but that the sap flow is driven or pushed from the vine into the branch! It is the vine that draws the life from the earth and channels it to and through the branch. As a result the branch is able to produce fruit any without effort on it’s part.
Your effort or God’s effort
In other words, a branch isn’t bearing fruit by trying really hard to draw sap out of the vine but by fully abiding or resting in the vine. It is the vine’s responsibility to pump sap into the branch so it’ll bear fruit.
Since we are the branches through which the life of God flows, we sometimes think that it is our own holiness that produces the fruit. The moment we think that way, we are no longer abiding or resting in the vine, and we will become fruitless if we persist in that mindset.
This is a great relief if we understand this and apply it properly. It puts all the responsibility on Jesus. Our only responsibility is to respond to His ability. Just like we have never seen a branch travailing to bring forth fruit, all we have to do is labor to rest (trust and depend) completely on Jesus as our source. If we allow Him to live His life through us, fruit is the natural outcome.
This fruit is the product of the Holy Spirit, not our effort.
To sum up, God’s pruning method is to show you that Jesus is your Source to bear much fruit. Your responsibility is to rely on His ability because, as a branch, you aren’t able to bear fruit but the Vine can and does so naturally, without any effort.
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