Jesus taught that pruning in the disciple’s life was normal and for their benefit to produce more fruit. However, many in the church today think that discipline and pruning is a bad thing and thus try to avoid change because it is uncomfortable and even painful.
We as disciples are to be just as excited about being disciplined as we are about being blessed. The reason isn’t because God wants us to deny the pain we feel in our times of hardships, but rather to see that the pain has a purpose. God disciplines us because He loves us and wants us to share in His holiness!
John 15:1-10 (NKJV), “1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser [gardner]. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 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.
5 “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. 6 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. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 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.”
PRUNING = GOD’S DISCIPLINE
- PRUNING: Jesus said in John 15:2, “every branch that bears fruit He [the Father] prunes, that it may bear more fruit,” thus pruning is for the benefit of the disciple and should be viewed in a positive way.
- GOD’S DISCIPLINE: The author of Hebrews reminds disciples in the New Testament of King Solomon’s inspired words concerning the Father’s corrective nature, “5… My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son,” Hebrews 12:5b-6.
FOUR WAYS TO UNDERSTAND GOD’S DISCIPLINE
- GOD DISCIPLINES THOSE HE LOVES: God does not punish His children out of anger, but rather lovingly (like a good Father) rebukes and corrects His disciples so that they may live a life of love and obedience (Hebrews 12:6).
- DISCIPLINE IS ABOUT MATURITY, NOT IDENTITY: The disciple’s identity as being a perfectly holy child of God was secured at the moment they were born again (1 Corinthians 6:11). Healthy and mature people produce offspring, the same is true with healthy and mature disciples, they produce good fruit in their lives and ministry. As a result, God’s discipline is for your maturity so you will bear more fruit in your life and ministry (Hebrews 12:10).
- DISCIPLINE DOESN’T FEEL GOOD, BUT IT IS GOOD FOR YOU: Just like lifting weights, intense cardo, or dieting brings discomfort at first but the results are positive, so it is true with God’s discipline in our lives. At first, it doesn’t feel good to be rebuked by the Lord, but in the end it brings great joy and spiritual well being! According to Hebrews 12:11 discipline is necessary because as God’s children and ingrafted branches in His vine we share in His holiness (2 Peter 1:4).
- GOD’S HARVEST OF RIGHTEOUSNESS & PEACE COMES FROM HIS DISCIPLINE: Just like how more fruit comes from the pruning of a grape vine (John 15:2), so it is that God’s discipline brings forth a great harvest of righteousness (right actions in life) and peace (freedom from inner turmoil), Hebrews 12:11b.
Hebrews 12:4-11, “4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline —then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
FOURTEEN POPULAR THINGS GOD LOVES TO PRUNE
- Bad Attitudes
- Sexual Perversion
- False Beliefs
God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness!