Our Good and Righteous Father
Are you waiting on God for something? Let us pray for you.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1-5, ESV)
God is our Father, He is our creator, and creator of all things. When we accept Jesus as truth, and believe fully in Him, we are adopted by God as His true children. We all become sons and daughters of God and are given the promise to spend eternity with Him.
We often focus only on the promise of eternity with God and sometimes neglect the fact that God is our Father. What does any good and righteous father do? He disciplines and teaches and sometimes even dishes out a dose of tough love. Yes, our God dishes out tough love, because He truly loves you. We see this here in verse two. Jesus says that God still prunes the branches that produce fruit. To prune is to remove the dead parts of the branch and even sometimes the live parts if it will help the branch produce more fruit.
So, how does this apply to you and me? Not all bad things that happen to you are really bad in the long run (this doesn’t mean it won’t hurt). God allows bad things to happen as a part of pruning you. We step out of our trials and tribulations closer to God, and with Him back as number one in our lives. This leads us to verse four. The branch can not produce fruit by itself. If God is not number one in your life, you are doing things on your own accord (by yourself) and are most likely due for a pruning.
For some of us, this is a hard concept to understand. Please allow me to share something from my life that may shed some light. At one point in my life, my job and providing and income had become more important than God. It wasn’t affecting my life any more than any of my neighbours around me, so I felt that I was doing the right thing. I saw no harm in my actions, in fact, I thought it was a good thing all around. Please notice the key word here…I.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God removed that job from my life. At the time, I thought it was the worst thing that could happen. I lost many “things” I had stored up. My prayers for a return to the environment I has been in were not answered, at least not in the way I expected them to be. In the moment of it all, it was devastating.
Yet, now many years later, God has done an amazing work on me. I learned during that time, that God needed to be number one in my life. I learned to lean on Him to help me get out of the mess that I had created. I trusted in Him, even if I did not understand what He was doing in my life. All of this has created many blessings in my life. I would not change it for anything. I am truly a better man today because of how God pruned me in my past, and still does today.
Folks, you can take this for what it is worth. In the heat of the trial, it is hard to understand that good can come from it. That God will bring praise and glory to Himself from it. I am living proof that it does bring praise and glory to Him, and I pray that whatever any of you are facing today in your lives, that you turn to God for help. Hold on to Jesus and the cross like it is life or death, because it is.
Father, we thank you today for the pruning You do in our lives. We praise you Lord, for loving us so much, that You only seek to better our lives. Lord we thank you for never forsaking us, for always being there for us when we need you, when we cry out to You. Lord I pray that if any of my brothers and sisters today are going through a pruning period of their life, that You fill them today overflowing with Your grace, mercy, and love. That they tie their life rope to Your anchor and that they hold on for dear life. Father we praise you when we win, and we praise you when we lose. Watch over us today and protect us from the snares of this world, in the name of Jesus, Amen
Question: How has God used hard times in your life? What did you do to stay close to God when the storms hit?