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March 17 | John 15:1-7

DAILY READING


For more help use this Bible Study method

 

REFLECTION


Sometimes Less is More

by Judy Webb


"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." (John 15:1-2)


The text from Sunday found Jesus teaching the Disciples about serving one another with love. It is a familiar story where we find Peter once again, opening mouth and inserting foot. Jesus is preparing to wash his friend's feet before they sit down to enjoy one last meal together. Peter objects with gusto! "No, you shall never wash my feet." Jesus was instructing by example, how important it is to serve each other.

Today, we find Jesus acting as a gardener, using phrases like, bears fruit, pruning branches and cutting away the vines. I really enjoy reading about this topic, as spring is just about here and many of us are ready to don our gardening gloves and prepare to prune and plant some lovely flowers and delicious vegetables. It is so much fun to dig in the dirt and know that the growing season is here.

I can't help but think of these verses while practicing this art. When I first started to plant seeds indoors in February, I anticipated getting a jump on things. The trouble was the seedlings would begin to come up quickly and I learned that one must thin the crop when actually putting them into the ground. I found it difficult to snip many of these pretty green shoots and only plant the strong tall survivors.


Jesus' teaching is a warning of sorts. If you want to be fruitful, you must stay close to the vine, to the source of life. Pruning is necessary to grow up strong and sturdy in a world that will often beat you down. Where Satan rules, healthy hearts filled with the Spirit, are critical for survival. We can’t be healthy if we are carrying around lifeless baggage. We must allow for some pinching and pruning to be healthy and useful fruit. If we are not looking to the vine for nourishment and clinging to His Word constantly, potentially healthy shoots will be crowded out by the sick things of this world.


 

PRAYER PRACTICE

Prayer Journal – To begin your daily worship today, grab a pen and paper and write out a prayer to God. Try praying the Scripture back to God, asking Him to show you where you need pruning and where there needs to be a stronger connection to the vine. Give thanks to God for all that He gives (including forgiveness for the sin you just confessed!). When you are done, tuck this away somewhere (so you can read it later and see how God has answered your prayers) and then move into hearing from God through His Word.




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