Good Morning Brothers…
I had a siding project at my house a week or so ago. Materials stacked all over and an assortment of equipment parked in the drive-way and in the yard. One of which, was a 60′ man-lift with a boom that unfolded and pretty much could put a guy wherever he needed to go. It was handy…real handy. After the project was over, before the rental company came back to get their lift, I decided to use the lift to prune some of the dead branches out of the cottonwood trees that lined my driveway. While doing this, my mind focused on this passage from the Gospel of St. John.
“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 it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:1-11
As my chainsaw growled and spit, I thought about the dead branches I was cutting out. Although they were attached to the tree, they had no life. They were not able to grow or support leaves and/or fruit. They had to go. Some of the other branches were alive but growing in the wrong direction. They had a downward trajectory. By trimming the smaller branches on the bottom side of the bigger branch. They lifted immediately into an upward angle. Many times in my life, through repentance, the Lord has fired up His celestial chain saw and trimmed my lower branches that were dragging me into a downward trajectory. Immediately lifted by the falling away of excess baggage, I reached for the heavens. I have to constantly remember that pruning is a good thing. Pruning helps me to abide, or live, in Him. This passage reminds us that Jesus loves us the same way the Father loves Jesus. That kind of love is hard to describe. It is with…all of Him. When I keep His commandments, I live in His love. When I don’t keep His commandments, He still loves, but I am blocking His efforts to prune, to love.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
This is what I want above all else. I want to trust the Lord with my every fiber. I want to be planted by the water and weather the storms of life because I am attached to the true vine and watered by the Holy Spirit. I want to be trustworthy. I want the Lord to feel comfortable giving me whatever assignment He may have. I want to be weak enough to rely on Him. I want to be strong enough to be humble. I want to live fully in Him and let Him live fully in me.
I want to be His…fully.