The Weekly Word Lent Series - A Devotion for the Sixth Week of Lent
During the six weeks of Lent and Holy Week, we are offering a special devotional series on the theme of “I AM.” We invite you to set aside a few minutes each week to join us in exploring who God is and how and where He is present in our daily lives.
The Scripture for today is from 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, as I also 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.”
If you’ve ever pruned a tree in late autumn, you know the process and the results can be alarming. As you cut off one branch after another, the tree begins to look bare and misshapen. More and more branches litter the ground at your feet until finally, when you stand back to survey your work, you panic, wondering if you’ve gone too far and pruned too many branches. You fear that perhaps you might have even killed the tree.
The following spring, however, you find that the tree that was stripped bare and pruned back to its essentials is now flourishing. What were once empty spaces in its canopy are now filled in, lush and green with new leaves, and the tree has grown into a beautiful, full shape.
Something similar happens in our soul when we allow God to prune away the dead, useless parts from our lives as well. We find that although the pruning process itself was painful, requiring that we let go of parts of our lives and ourselves that we might not want to relinquish, the result is that the painful pruning makes space for our true gifts to grow and flourish.
Think about your own life for a moment. What might not be needed? What might you be clutching that God is asking you to relinquish? It could be something as simple as a pastime – like social media or ingesting an overabundance of online news – that is distracting you from deeper, more meaningful pursuits. It might be a bad habit or an addiction – like excessive drinking or shopping – that prohibits you from spending your resources wisely and living as your best, God-creates self. Or perhaps it’s an unhealthy relationship that is draining you of positive energy.
God could be asking you to prune away the “deadwood” in your life. He might be asking you to let go.
Relinquishing is rarely easy. As human beings, we tend to fight for control; we don’t like the idea of surrender, even when we know the result will be good for us. But the good news is, God is with us. We trust Him to show us what needs to be stripped away in order to make room to grow. “Apart from me you can do nothing,” Jesus reminds us (John 15:5). We remain in Him, knowing that He will always work in our best interest.
Dear Jesus, show me what is getting in the way of a deeper relationship with You. Show me what needs to be cut away so that I may bear the kind of fruit You envision. Amen.