Name Tags: You Are... (Part 15)
I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
If you've ever been into gardening, you know trees and plants get sucker branches: weak, useless limbs that sap a good tree's strength. Often, they grow on the dark underside. Sometimes, they stand straight up, but have few leaves.
Either way, these fruitless appendages are best to be found, cut and discarded. At the same time, even healthy branches should be carefully pruned of their dead parts, so they can become even more fruitful.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: In your role as a branch of the Vine, your direction is to bear much fruit. In this, the Lord is perfectly clear. Therefore, consider some fruitful tips:
1) Insincere believers are suckers: sucking the Life from congregations through compromise and twisting God's Word. Within your inner circle of saints, recognize suckers and cut them off.
2) From good branches grow smaller branches. If you branch off into harmful roles or unprofitable directions, the Master Gardener will prune you. But the quick pain will bring better growth.
3) You're also called trees of righteousness.* In the role, see yourself standing tall, growing straight and reaching to the Son. You are big, strong and easily seen. You offer shade and fruit to others.**
4) Apart from Christ, a.k.a. the Vine, branches and trees will wither or burn. While their leaves may make a pretty show, their fruit is bad or non-existent. Don't believe or become such a tree.***
To Be Continued...
* 'That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified' (Isaiah 61:3, NKJV).
** 'The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control' (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB).
*** Short article: What is the meaning of the Parable of the Fig Tree? https://www.gotquestions.org/parable-fig-tree.html
*** Short article: Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Name Tags: You Are... series.