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[The following devotional is a part of our 2015 Easter Season Devotional Book “Passion Road.”  We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between February 18 – April 5, 2014.]

 

Tree Truths by Mark Robinson

Read:  John 15:1-7

We live in a neighborhood with lots of trees.  In my time as a homeowner, I have come to learn a few things about trees:

  1. Tree branches that fail to stay connected to the trunk of the tree become a real hassle.  In December 2007 an ice storm dumped a half inch of ice all over every tree branch in our neighborhood. Under the heavy weight of the ice, branches began snapping off and crashing to the ground.  The beautiful branches that once hung green above the streets below, now lay in lifeless, brown piles awaiting destruction.
  2. Trees require care if they are to remain vibrant.  We once had an apple tree that only produced grape sized apples.  Over time, I found that by trimming several branches off the tree, the tree would actually produce bigger, tastier apples.  Without the strain of those extra branches, the tree could produce better fruit.  This made pruning a priority for me, because the reason you have an apple tree is to produce apples!

These “tree truths” are used as a spiritual analogy by Jesus in John 15:1-17. As Jesus was preparing His disciples for life AFTER His death and resurrection, He made two points about the implications of their branch like connection to Him:

  1. Jesus says that Christians who fail to remain connected to Christ in their daily lives, cease to be spiritually vibrant.  Christians dependent upon Jesus produce His fruit in their lives.  However, when these same Christians decide to do their own thing, rely on their own strength, and detach themselves from Christ, they quickly wither.
  2. Jesus says that in order to produce maximum fruit in our lives, we must be pruned by our Heavenly Father.  Jesus says this in John 15:2, “He (the Father) 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.”  The idea is that our loving God is always trimming away at extra desires, attitudes, and opportunities in our lives so that we are in the best position to live a life that is glorifying to Him.  Pruning is a priority for the Father because the purpose of Christians is to produce Christ’s fruit!

This passage reminds us that spiritual vitality comes from abiding in Christ as a branch does in its vine.  The key to spiritual life and growth comes from living a life of dependence upon the Savior.  Further, if you find your spiritual life producing some fruit, but not “much fruit,” then think for a moment about what is in your life that might be an “extra branch” that the Father might need to prune off to allow for more growth.  Maybe your extra branches are relationships that pull you away from Him, addictions, time wasters, etc.  Whatever they are, invite the Gardener to examine your life and see if He might want to clip a branch here or there to encourage future growth.

Question:

  • Is your spiritual life more alive or dead?  Are you connected to Jesus?
  • Are you producing Christ’s fruit, or are extra things getting in the way?

Prayer:

  • Ask God to reveal if there is any area of your life right now that needs pruning.

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