Before Church yesterday, I saw my Bible chilling on my desk.
I had not touched it in over a week.
Before I opened it, I prayed that a verse would strike my heart.
Immediately, a verse came into my head so I opened my Bible up enthusiastically.
I was then disappointed because the verse really had nothing to do with my life. It was an OT passage discussing politics. Could not relate to it whatsoever.
After my disappointment, I continued to flip through the Bible and eventually my eyes were caught on John 15:1-8.
I encourage you all to read it.
In this Bible passage Christ is explaining to the disciples that he is the vine and we as His followers are the branches. Those who detach themselves from Christ will die just like a branch detached from a vine. Christ explains that those who bear fruit will be pruned to bear more fruit.
I was really drawn to the pruning part of this passage. For me this is exactly how the past year has felt. In my undergrad years I thought I did a good job bearing some fruit; however, now it was through God’s love that he continued to trim me (LOTS of trimming) in order to do more of His will.
I reflected on it a bit and then didn’t think much of it as I shut my Bible. I then went about my day. A few hours later my friend texted me to see if I wanted to go to Church with him and his wife.
Why not? I was procrastinating anyway (he caught me midway through a youtube binge).
So, I went and right before the Mass started I had a thought.
“What if the verse I just read is the Gospel passage. That would be pretty crazy!”
I brushed it off and continued singing along to the songs and listening to the first 2 readings.
The priest then went up to the pulpit and sure enough, I heard a story about vines and branches.
And as the priest was finishing the Gospel, I heard the final words of John 15:
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you”
At this point I was frozen. Was I crazy? Did I really think that thought at the start of Mass? Did I really read that exact verse hours before?
The doubts flooded in, as they do in this human condition.
Yet, peace consumed me. Because I knew God was speaking directly to my soul.
God spoke to me and reminded me that I am attached to Him. I can bear no fruit, I cannot grow, I can do nothing unless I remember IN CHRIST ALONE I will grow.
We live in a culture so obsessed with control. We want to be our own branch. We want to shout to the world that we deserve this fruit.
We worked for this fruit! We earned it!
God reminded me yesterday that we are all His branches.
By accepting this we must allow God to do His will in our lives.
Whether that be to cut a few of our leaves off or not.
We must allow God to do this. To do everything necessary.
Friends, I encourage you today to reflect on the pruning that has occurred in your life.
How has God trimmed you up so you may bear more fruit?
When in your life have you tried to cut yourself off of God and be your own branch?
Are you so obsessed with bearing your own fruit that you forget only God can do this for you?
God told me I was a branch.
Not just a branch, His branch.
And my friend, so are you.