[Jesus said] “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. . . . If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
~ John 15:1,2,6
Spring is here, new life has replaced the death of winter. Bird songs fill the air. The grass is greening. Leaves are budding. Flowers are blooming. And soon, the fruit will be forming on the vine.
Before the kaleidoscope and fragrance of flowers, in many places there was a gray haze and pungent smell coming from gardener’s burn piles. The smoke wasn’t pleasant, but it was necessary. Gardeners needed to trim away lifeless branches, rake up the waste, and burn it to protect the healthy plants and promote new growth.
In the garden of God, every believer in Jesus is a planting of the Lord. To God, the gardener, we are the display of his splendor (Isaiah 61:3) and the pleasing aroma of Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:15). We flourish best when our heavenly Father trims away everything that threatens our faith.
God’s gardening activity is always for our good, even though the smoke and shears may bring about tears. Sometimes God’s shears and smoke are a warning signal for us: Be on your guard against anything that can threaten your faith in Jesus.
God is at work in our lives, caring for us and correcting us when necessary so we can bear the fruit of love for him and our neighbors.
Prayer: Lord God, mercifully forgive me for my sins and accept my thanks for graciously grafting me to Jesus, the true Vine. Amen.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.