Its been a while since I’ve written a blog so thought Id let you know what’s been going on in my mind and heart recently.
As I’ve been preparing the sermon series for Newtownbreda, called “Your #1 Relationship”, based on John 15 (catch the first 2 parts here - select the Archive tab). I’ve been inevitably thinking long and hard about the analogy that Jesus uses - the vine and the branches.
Not really knowing much about vineyards, not surprisingly I’ve had to do some research. There was always connection and pruning. Jesus tells us that true Christians are like branches who are connected to him as the vine. We draw our life, our vitality from him. Its easy to appear to be connected and yet not be. But true life and true fruit comes from real connection. Then there had to be pruning.
The branches would have to be ruthlessly and constantly pruned in order to bring forth the glorious fruit. The branches would never be left alone but they would be cut back, pared, thinned, nipped, topped in a deliberate conscious, intentional act of the gardener. Sometimes, the gardener would even prune off some small fruit in order to get better fruit a few years later. It was a very organised and highly skilled process.
When the glorious ripe fruit finally appeared, the passers-by and lookers-on would have been amazed and said “what a great gardener to get such fruit”. The praise would go to the gardener not to the fruit. It would have been his skill and his diligence that would have been praised.
Jesus said that if you are a Christian you will be need to be pruned in order that you might give a great vintage and so that your life will bring glory to your Heavenly gardener. This process is going on even now. It might be small things, irritants in your life with which you are going to have to learn how to handle. It might be bigger things, decisions and relationships which are teaching you lessons or it might be massive stuff going on right now, which has the potential to break you – or the potential to bring forth glorious fruit in your life. Clip, clip, clip, the Heavenly Gardener is at His work pruning you right now.
I wonder have you noticed that? I'm trying to learn it – to be more conscious to see God in every thing in my life. I'm a slow learner so he often has to repeat his lessons and step up his pruning process. Why wouldn’t he? He knows this is my #1 relationship – and so its worth His effort in my life.