What We Are – The SALT, The LIGHT, the BRANCHES
So in the first two parts of this series I have talked about being the SALT and the LIGHT. I am not sure but this next one just doesn’t seem to carry the same pizazz the other two carry. I am in a Sunday School class now called the Salt Class, I have seen entire church programs around being the Light but is anyone in the Branch Sunday School class? Although it does not lend itself to a cool name it is one of the things Jesus said that we ARE.
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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
The entire chapter of John 15 is so moving and is such a teaching point for us as Christians.
The first thing I want to highlight here is that branches always grow outwardly, just as I mentioned salt must come into contact with the world and light must go out into the world the branches must grow out from Christ. Once again, this is not an ask; Jesus states “You ARE the branches”. If this is true, then we must grow outwardly.
If we are the branches of the Vine (Jesus) then we must grow outwardly from Him carrying Him into the world.Tweet
In the list of things Jesus called is followers this one may be the hardest to follow. It seems simple enough but I think there are some things that anyone who is not a gardener might miss.
“Every branch that bears fruit he PRUNES.”
Pruning goes against our natural growth. Pruning prevents a plant from growing into its natural path and allows a gardener to determine the way he wants the plant to grow. Imagine this, a plant’s natural growth is vertical as in a singular branch sprouting upward only blooming at the final tip. Now if this same plant is pruned then it will have multiple blooms throughout and will create multiple vertical shoots.
This is very relatable to Christian growth. We are born into the flesh and our natural desires are to follow that flesh and to chase things that are worldly. If God does not prune us then we will never be able to reach the goals He has set for us or be able to display our true beauty as designed by God.
One of the key reasons for pruning is to create healthier and lively shrubs and plants. This is the same with God but to understand this we must first understand what pruning is.
Not to insult anyone’s intelligence but let’s look at what pruning is.
Without getting too technical, pruning is simply cutting off the tip of a branch or the end bud, which creates a chemical that slows the growth of other buds. Once this has been trimmed or cut off it allows other buds to flourish.
Wow, what a beautiful picture of God’s pruning of His children. He will cut out or trim off elements of our lives that are choking out or preventing the healthy buds from blooming. Sometimes we may not realize why God has allowed us to lose something we valued but, sometimes we allow our desires to get in the way and they need to be pruned so that we can focus on God’s desires for our lives. There are even times when in planting that you may have to cut off one healthy rose in order for multiple others to be able to flourish.
This entire concept is one that Christian’s avoid sometimes because they tell us that this isn’t going to be easy. These verses tell us that as Christians there are going to be growing pains and times that God must prune us. This pruning will show itself in many forms but ultimately it will always allow us an opportunity to grow closer to God and further from our own desires. If our growth is left unchecked then we will follow our own desires so it is reasonable to see that God’s pruning is an opportunity for us to see what we are allowing to get in the way of true fellowship with God.