15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. (John 15:1-2 CSB)
To produce a fine wine, the branches must bear fruit. They cannot do this unless they are connected to and drawing nutrients from the vine. Then and only then can the process start to make a fine wine.
When anchor our entire lives to Christ we can begin to produce the fruit of the Spirit that can lead to then being made into higher accomplishments. When we hold out a part of our lives, that part tends to wither away and die. Because it is a branch no longer connected to the vine. Over time our entire branch can get disconnected and wither.
We strive to be good, strong branches that produce much fruit which God can then develop into a fine wine for the Kingdom.
23 A person’s steps are established by the Lord,
and he takes pleasure in his way.
24 Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed,
because the Lord supports him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24 CSB)
How often do we begin our days overwhelmed. That seems to be the typical state of the world these days. Overwhelmed, too busy, stressed, tired, insert your state here…
But we are admonished that if we are established in the Lord and take pleasure in his ways, though we fall, we will not be overwhelmed.
Though we fall. The scripture presupposes that we might at times feel too weary to stand up. But we are supported in God’s hands. He will be there with us. But we must first be established in the Lord. Leaning on Him for every good thing.
3 Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, 4 but rather what is inside the heart[a]—the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4 CSB)
There is much that can be written about these two lines of scripture, but I want to focus on the last part.
In our me, me, me world there seems to be little room for a gentle and quiet spirit. People with these qualities we tend to set aside because they are often construed as meek. Very often the gentle and quiet among us are often the strongest. They do not need to be heard above the din, nor do they feel a need to be seen as more than they are.
There is much to be learned from a gentle and quiet spirit. Often the pillars of faith are the quiet ones. They know the best things do not require a trumpet blast to be recognized.
3 …we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 6:3-5 CSB)
Character is built by chiseling away all the unnecessary stuff and revealing what lies beneath. This chiseling can be painful at times as it may come in the form of afflictions we must endur. But make no mistake, God uses every aspect of our lives to show his love and make us better.
It may not feel that way while we are being chiseled away at, but God has purpose in everything. Even when we cannot see purpose in the trials we may be enduring.
Know, regardless, that God is there in your pain working to reveal a character trait you may not know you need.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30 CSB)
When we truly pour out all that we have, God fills it up with all that we need.
11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11 CSB)
Look, no one (child or adult) likes to be disciplined. However, when we are young we need it to shape our lives and keep us pointed in the right direction. As adults forms of discipline take on more gravity and the consequences can be more severe.
However, our loving Father’s discipline may take on many forms. Some may be harder to recognize as discipline and thus we must ever be alert to His guiding hand in what is happening in our lives. We need to search ourselves for the things that we know, deep down, we need to correct.
However, like any loving father, He works to shape our lives and help us to gain wisdom through His discipline.
14 The wise store up knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool hastens destruction. (Proverbs 10:14 CSB)
What are you storing up for yourself? Are you like the wise storing up knowledge or like the fool storing up destruction?
Scripture can be pretty harsh and straighforward. But if we are honest it speaks to the truth of the matter.