15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
Today is the official dissolution date of the ministry we planted exactly 10 years ago. There are several reasons why God required us to close, but at the moment, only one matters: “He cuts every branch that doesn’t produce fruit.” Yes, through the years, I believe much fruit grew through the work of the ministry. Individuals, couples, children and multiple generations of families encountered the Lord, and were transformed. Hallelujah! However, in recent months, the Spirit had been revealing through Scripture, prayer, dreams (mine and others) that I had wandered down a path He did not send me. I had rebelled against His leadership. As a result, I had abandoned my first love: Jesus.
The result? Fruitlessness in that area of my life.
I may have turned away from the Son of Man, but He never left me. He has been interceding at the right hand of the Father all along. He has been praying that my faith would not fail as the enemy was granted permission to sift me like wheat. And in His timing, I was able to hear the sound of the rooster crowing in my Spirit- bringing conviction of sin. Like Peter, at the realization of my denial, I wept bitterly.
Repentance is a painfully beautiful gift in our relationship with the Lord. It’s an acknowledgement of the death we’ve been living under, which releases deep sorrow. It’s also a realization of the resurrection life that we have returned to, which brings great joy!
Repentance causes us to realize: He cuts us because He loves us.
A branch has been severed in me. Amen! It is gone. Gone but not forgotten. It is forgiven. Forgiven but not hidden. For it serves as a reminder of the blood that covers all my sin, cleansing me of all unrighteousness, connecting me to the vine which produces much fruit, bringing glory to the Father!
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.