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Daily Reading: 4th August 2015

John 15.2

2 He takes away every branch in Me that is not producing fruit, and He prunes every one that is producing fruit, so that it will produce more fruit.

Those who grow tomatoes know that the vine produces three things:

Leaves; trusses; and side shoots.

In order to produce good sized tomatoes it is necessary to remove all the side shoots, since these side shoots drain the goodness from the actual truss, which produces the tomato. Also some of the lower leaves need to be cut off for the same reason.

Leaving the side shoots on will have the effect of producing much smaller tomatoes.

Jesus tells us that the Father removes the branches that fail to produce fruit. We call such branches dead wood. They are of no use and are a drain on the fruit producing branches. Therefore, they are best chopped off.

These words of Jesus speak of judgement. It may not be popular to speak about judgement, but it is a part of the believers life that there is a judgement that requires certain things to be cut away from us.

John the Baptist used a similar illustration in the context of judgement:

 Even now the axe of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire – Matthew 3.10 (NLT). He was telling the Pharisees and Sadducees that they needed to live lives that reflected a repentant heart toward God, or they would face the judgement of God.

Jesus also used a similar illustration:

Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by My Heavenly Father will be uprooted” – Matthew 15.13 (NLT).

Again the context is about the judgement that would come upon the Pharisees, because they honoured God with their lips, but not with their lives.

For every believer and follower of Jesus there will be times when the judgement of our Father means the chopping off of things that may be familiar to us; things that make us feel comfortable; things that we have always done. If these activities are an obstacle to our producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit then the judgement is that they need to be chopped off.

Let our prayer be:

[23] Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

[24] Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life – Psalm 139.23-24 (NLT).

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