"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Disciplining and Pruning

I just finished Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson. In it, he discusses truths from John 15 where Jesus tells His disciples how to bear much fruit by abiding in Him. The author used Jesus' example of the vineyard and explained how the Vinedresser takes unproductive vines and works with them so they produce much fruit. Although this book was short, it was rather painful at times as the author discussed disciplining and pruning. But the end result was sweet -- abiding in Him and being God's friend! Below I will list several quotes that stood out to me.

"If your life consistently bears no fruit, God will intervene to discipline you." (pg. 35)

"[R]emember that His discipline is always just one aspect of His relationship with you. When your mother reprimanded you, she didn't stop caring for you, talking to you, or wanting your love in return. Satan would love to convince you that because your Father is dealing firmly with you, you're a worthless, unlikable loser. The opposite is true. Only if you've never received discipline should you doubt His favor. The Bible says, 'If you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons' (Hebrews 12:8)." (pg. 40)

"Disciplining is God's proactive answer to moving you out of barrenness and toward fruitfulness." (pg. 44)

Repentance "is a lifestyle, an ongoing commitment to keep putting aside our rebellion and receive God's forgiveness." (pg. 53)

"If your life bears some fruit, God will intervene to prune you." (pg. 58)

Oftentimes a plant will experience rapid growth, but it doesn't always produce the desired fruit. It's as if the plant's energy goes towards greenery and vines where fruit (grapes) is desired. "For the Christian, rampant growth represents all those preoccupations and priorities in our lives that, while not wrong, are keeping us from more significant ministry for God." (pg. 60)

"If disciplining is about sin, pruning is about self. In pruning, God asks you to let go of things that keep you from His kingdom purposes and your ultimate good." (pg. 62) --- Are there things God wants you to give up? People He wants you to surrender to Him? Relationships or ministries He wants you to end? The author says the hardest thing God asked of him was for Bruce to give God ownership of his wife and children.

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