up close and personal | John 15.9-14
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.
John 15:9-14 | ESV
So what are we really talking about here? Love. Abba’s love for me, my love for you – there’s your vital connection. Seek deep roots into my love – which means those roots will be wrapping themselves around each and every life-giving instruction I’ve passed on to you. To be connected with my love is to stay vitally connected with everything I’ve said – just as I’ve been rooted in my Abba’s every command and remain firmly rooted in his love. Another equation: love = actually doing what I say! And my point in saying all this is not to burden you with the math of obedience – I want you to experience a deepening sum of exponential joy – my joy, in you, full bore, full bloom. And in the heart of that blooming joy? My commanding, creative word: Love one another as I have loved you. And the pinnacle and peak of such love? That someone lays down his living, breathing soul for those he loves – for his friends, his mates. Which is what you are – my friends, my mates – because you take what I say (like, I don’t know, “love one another”) seriously and give it hands and feet.
MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
From Robert Scott Stiner’s book Lessons from a Venetian Vinedresser:
Instead of Aldo bending a branch to cause it to grow in certain direction, he sometimes believes it’s better to cut part of the branch off. In pruning a branch that has fruit or has the potential to bear fruit the vinedresser does three things.
First, he causes the branch to grow in at least two different directions. Initially the branches grow to the capacity of the existing root system. If a branch is pruned, all the energy still exists because the roots are still the same size. Because of this, that energy needs someplace to go. At least two small branches can grow out close to where the pruned branch was. Once the vinedresser has pruned the branch in one direction, it has the energy to grow off in other directions. It’s not that the branch can’t produce fruit if it grows out into the center of the aisles.
The problem comes when the fruit begins to grow and it has no support from the other branches. The weight of the branch begins to pull and tear back into the other branches; the fruit dies and the wound to the other branches may cause a disease or sickness that may affect other branches. Support from the other branches is vital as the weight of the fruit gets heavier.
Next, by pruning, the vinedresser can cause the remaining fruit to be larger and healthier. By pruning a branch with fruit already on it, it effectively stops vitamins and minerals going to the discarded fruit and redirects it to the remaining grapes. Less wine is produced this way, but a far better wine.
Lastly, the fruit-bearing branch that is pruned grows in its diameter and becomes stronger. It becomes more stable and can support more fruit the following season. It also becomes strength for the branches that grow from it. As a branch grows in diameter it becomes less of a branch that is dependent on others and more of one that can be depended on…
It what ways have you found yourself being “pruned” lately? In what specific areas of your life do you sense the need for pruning?
Abba, let me not fear the clippers in your hand. Prune me, shape me, make me, as you see fit, that my life may bear the fruit that you seek according to your time and plan. Through Jesus.