The Pruning Shears of Scripture (John 15:3)

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As the Heavenly Husbandman tends His vineyard, He frequently prunes the branches. The process involves discarding the unfruitful branches and trimming the fruitful branches so they can bear more fruit in the future. In John 15:3, Jesus said, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” The Bible is the Father’s tool to prune and purge the branches.

To prune a vine, a vinedresser has to come close and put the pruning shears in contact with the branches. Force is then applied, and cuts are made. For God’s word to do this kind of pruning work in us, there must be regular contact with the Bible. The healthy branch understands the need for pruning and submits to it, but the unfruitful branch fears the pruning and avoids it.

A proper relationship to God’s word is essential, then, to abiding in Christ. If His words do not abide in you, then you are not abiding in Him. (John 15:7) If His words are abiding in you, then they will have a sanctifying effect on your life. God uses His word to show us sinful attitudes and actions and selfish thoughts and desires so that we might remove them through repentance and confession. No other tool can accomplish what the Bible does. No writings of man, no self-help seminary, and no secular TED Talks will do what God’s word can do for you. It is a hammer that chips away the rough edges of our hard hearts. It is a sword that cuts clean to our innermost being, even revealing motives and thoughts we might not have acknowledged were there.