If youíve ever seen the logs floating down the rivers of Oregon, you know itís quite a sight. But every once in a while, thereís a logjam. Nothing moves, and logs start stacking up worse than big-city traffic late in the afternoon. Know what that logger does? He climbs a tree.
Now Iíd get out there on the river, and start throwing logs all over the place, looking for trouble. But not a logger. He climbs a tree, surveys the logjam, and identifies the trouble. Then he goes right to the source of the problem, plants a stick of dynamite, lights it, and heads for cover. When the dynamite goes off, the logs can move again, and the problem is over.
God is like that. Heíll look over your life, constantly, watching for the logjams. When he finds the problem, BOOM! ...
In John 15, that process is called discipline and pruning.
Every Christian Ė with no exceptions Ė faces both discipline and pruning.
And every Christian Ė with no exceptions Ė eventually comes to understand the choice.
You can either live with the discipline of God ... or you can live with the pruning of God. Itís your choice. Itís my choice.
John 15:1-4 "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, and I will 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. (HCSB)
And right there, Jesus illustrates both discipline and pruning.
Look at verse 2, where the two factors meet:
ďHe cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit ...Ē He lifts it up. When a wayward branch runs along the ground, away from the trellis, the vineyard owner, cuts the new roots out of the wrong places, and lifts the branch back into its proper place. Once there, in an area of disciplined growth, the vine will once again produce fruit. If a wayward vine is not lifted up, there will be no fruit produced at all.
In the same breath, among the same grape vines, Jesus also said, ď... while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.Ē What a surprising concept for the obedient Christian whoís been working hard to stay faithful to Christ. The branches that have stayed on the trellis, the once already committed to Christ-like discipline, will also draw attention from the vinedresser. And the pruning may not be comfortable.
Remember....Godís discipline carries wonderful benefits.
When I was a child, my fatherís discipline didnít seem very pleasant. OK, there were times when I thought his discipline would be the end of me. To paraphrase Romans 5:33, I had fallen far short of the glory of God, and the wages of my sin sure seemed like death! Only years later did I fully understand the wonderful benefits of my fatherís completely appropriate steps of discipline. Godís discipline has incredible benefits, too.
What are those benefits...glad you asked, lets start to explore a few
Benefit No. 1 Ė If you receive Godís discipline, you know youíre in Godís family.
Hebrews 12:5-6 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." (HCSB)
If youíre wondering if youíre saved, look no further than Godís discipline. If you can pinpoint a time when God was taking you out to heavenís woodshed, you can take joy in the fact that God only disciplines his sons and daughters.
My fatherís discipline was tough...at least I thought so, but I never gave a thought to why he didnít discipline other children. I instinctively knew that a dad only disciplines his own children. Other boys could do stuff that I wasnít allowed to do, and they could get away with it! Right under his nose, theyíd do stuff he forbade, and heíd just walk away. Why? Because those kids werenít his kids.
Years later, I do the same thing. Iíve seen a lot of children who needed discipline, but Iíve only handed such discipline out to the pair that are entrusted to me. If youíre a parent, you know the truth. You donít discipline children that arenít in the family. That truth goes all the way to the Bible, which says God reserves his discipline only for those who are in his family.
How did Jesus put it in Rev. 3:19? ďThose whom I love I rebuke and discipline!Ē (HCSB)
We don't always like it, but it is a benefit....
We explore beyond this next time
The adventure continues....
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Once there you will want to visit the Quest themed worship page, catch the latest installment of Core Group, and Sonrise Bible Study.
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