November 12 I Tuesday
“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.” —John 15:2
When we go to a doctor to get a needle shot, it is for either one of the two reasons: preventative, like a flu shot is designed to protect us from a virus that may come our way; or restorative, like an antibiotic shot is designed to fight the bacterial infection that we have. Similarly, when we talk about the discipline of God in our lives to produce better fruit, the discipline is both
preventative and restorative.
Like needles, some of us may fear discipline but the writer of Hebrews tells us, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son” (Hebrews 12:5-6). Discipline is painful, but what lies behind it is the love of a father. We, therefore, can find encouragement as we “[e]ndure hardship as discipline; God is treating [us] as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If [we] are not disciplined––and everyone undergoes discipline––then [we] are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all” (Hebrews 12:7-8).
Sometimes, God disciplines us through suffering because suffering could bring out either the best or the worst of us, depending on the disposition of our heart. Paul encourages us, “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Paul gives us a positive role that difficulties, disappointments and sadness can play in our lives.
Likewise, Peter reminds us, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7). When we talk about success in life, we think of it in terms of material things: someone is successful because they made good money––gold. But spiritual success is when our faith has
become refined so it is proved genuine and results in praise, glory and honor.
Jesus tells us, “My Father is the gardener” and
“I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:1, 5).
As a gardener, God prunes our lives to prevent things that have not yet taken place (preventative) and to correct things that need correcting (restorative). When God prunes––disciplines––us, He wants us to be fruitful. May our response to God’s needle of discipline be, “Lord, thank You for this pruning tool in my life.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for pruning and refining my faith. May I rejoice in Your needle of preventative and restorative discipline. Praise You!