By Pastor Alex Ruelo
John 15:1-2 says, “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 takes away.”
What does God do to Christians who do not bear fruit? Because you are connected to the vinedresser, you have to bear fruit. Seasons come and seasons go. There will be times when life knocks you out. Different circumstances stunt your growth and you are not able to produce any fruit. Many Christians have not born any fruit because of the situation nowadays. The pandemic has boxed out so many people that they fall flat to their faces on the ground. Just like plants when a storm comes, they are forced to the ground. The term “takes away” actually means “lifts up.”
He lifts you up. When you stumble and fall flat on the ground, the Father kneels and picks you up, cleans you up, and helps you out. He does not look down from where he is and says, “Just let him be and leave him there.” Because you are a branch from His tree, He will put you back where you are supposed to be. You cannot bear fruit when you are on the ground. The dirt will eat your fruit away.
In Greek, the words “takes away” is translated into “airo.” It means to raise up, lift up, take away, or remove But if you look at more verses in the Bible, like Matthew 9:6, it says, “But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” In Greek, the words “pick up” is also translated into “airo,’ same as the word used in the previous verse. So God lifts up. And when life knocks you out, God will be there to support you.
He reminds you of His grace. Every time you do not bear fruit and every time you fall, God reminds you of His grace. As the vine, He takes care of His branches. God does not need you. Really. But He chose you. And He loves you. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Inspite of all your shortcomings, God reminds you that His grace is enough for you. His love will never grow weary.
He makes your life meaningful. After God picks you up, cleans you, prunes you and puts you back to where you are really supposed to be, He gives meaning to your life. But if you allow God to use you again, you will find your purpose again. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” God chose you. He set you apart from all those who turn a deaf ear to Him. People may feel differently when you are around. You are supposed to stand out from the crowd. When a Christian strays from the Lord, there is a ripple effect . You are not the only one who is affected. Everyone and everything around you takes the brunt of your consequences. Everybodyis supposed to bear fruit.
Hebrews 12:5-8 says, “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “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.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.” Many people sometimes ignore the discipline of God thinking that soon, everything will go back to he way it was before. When God does not discipline you, that means that you are not His child and He does not love you. This is the same with your earthly parents. When they do not correct you, that means they do not care. Chastening is translated to discipline and training.
In the Bible, there are 3 stages of chastening. Rebuke is light chastening. When you do something wrong, your attention is called. In the Bible, when you read it and the verse pops out and talks to you, you are rebuked and you are reminded. Chastening occurs when there is already a struggle within you and with the people around you. Little by little, the structure in your household breaks down. You cannot blame the Lord for this because it is your fault. Scourging is the highest level of chastening. You will really see and feel it. Matthew 18:15 says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” In Hebrews 12:9, it says, “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!” Matthew 10:17 also says, “Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.” No one wants to go through that. God disciplines everyone He loves. Sometime you have to go through scourging to go back to where God wants you to be.
Let your fruits be visible. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” As God lifts you up, you should lift up others as well. And in the process, stay humble and do not boast in yourself but in God. God’s purpose in picking you up is to restore you. Trust that God has good plans for you. Do you remember the days when every single miracle mattered? Keep them in mind and in heart. Trust God again. Maybe you are bearing no fruit right now but remember the days when you were bearing much fruit. Embrace His discipline. Accept it so that you do not have to be chastened and scourged. Listen to God and try to come back Him. It may be difficult but it can be done. 1 Corinthians 11:30-32 says, “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.” God has good plans for you. Look to Him only.