Jesus said in the Parable of the True Vine:
“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.”
John 15:1-4 NKJV
The Lord God is preparing His ransomed people for the greatest move of His Spirit, as Jesus gets ready to return back to this earth. And He is doing this by pruning them to bear more fruit for His Kingdom.
But unfortunately, it’s not everyone within the Body of Christ who are being pruned. Some are so tuned in to the world to the extent that, they are not open at all at heart for the Lord God to be able to speak to them, not to even mention about pruning them. Their spiritual growth has been stalled, because they have chosen to be listening more to the voices of the world, rather than the voice of God.
It was in this same manner that Judas Iscariot missed out of the move of God, as the enemy led him to betray Jesus. He loved the world more than he loved Jesus (see Acts 1:16-20).
And at the end, his love for the corrupt world and his fleshy desire for the world’s system (John 12:4-6), pushed him to succumb to the temptation in betraying Jesus.
Judas Iscariot believed that Jesus was about to take over the world’s system in which he was living and change the way of life of the Jewish people. He had betrayed Him because he thought that he was doing the right thing, so as to protect Judea and Samaria from being taken over by Jesus.
Instead of allowing himself to be pruned by God, he ended up being cut off away from the other disciples, due to his desire for the world and its system of traditional values.
The same thing happened to Ananias and Sapphira in the midst of the great things, which had begun in Jerusalem as the early Church was growing (Acts 5:1-11). Thousands of souls were being won into the Kingdom of God, with an enormous demonstration of the power of God’s Kingdom.
Yet in the midst of these things Ananias and Sapphira had allowed their carnal and corrupt minds to overrule their heart, by lying to the Holy Spirit. They missed out of the move of God because of the carnal desire in them, to satisfy the craving of their flesh for money. They were both cut off by the Lord, as they died prematurely in His presence.
In the same manner the carnal Church today is missing out of the move of God. Those who are not allowing God to prune them, will eventually find themselves to blame.
This was exactly what Jesus meant when He said:
“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.”
John 15:2 NKJV
Those who are not bearing spiritual fruit with their Christian lives will find themselves being swept away with the world. They will be taken out of the way, because they are not consecrated to the Lord Jesus. Any Christian who is not living a consecrated lifestyle to the Lord is spiritually dead. Such a Christian is a carnally minded Christian.
The example of Jesus cursing the fig tree epitomizes what the end will be like for those who are carnally minded. The scriptures say:
“On the day following, when they had come away from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree [covered] with leaves, He went to see if He could find any [fruit] on it [for in the fig tree the fruit appears at the same time as the leaves]. But when He came up to it, He found nothing but leaves, for the fig season had not yet come. And He said to it, “No one ever again shall eat fruit from you”. And His disciples were listening [to what He said].”
Mark 11:12-14 AMPC
Note that Jesus was seeking for fruits to eat on this fig tree which was full of leaves. It was normal to expect a fig tree with so many leaves to have fruits for eating.
Even though it was not the season for bearing fruits, this tree was demonstrating that it had fruits on it by growing so many leaves. The buds of the branches were supposed to be bearing fruits; but they had nothing on them. Jesus knew about this and was expecting some fruits on it. He had to curse the tree for not meeting His expectation for fruits.
There are Christians who are full of leaves just like this fig tree. They live outwardly as committed Christians before the Church. But they have no spiritual fruit in their Christian lives to show, for what they are learning from the presence of the Lord.
When the Lord God will come looking for spiritual fruit in their lives, with all their commitments to His Kingdom, He will find nothing, He will have to do for them what Jesus had done to this fig tree. He will do so because He doesn’t want them to corrupt the innocent new believers of His great harvest.
This was well illustrated again by Jesus in His Parable of the Barren Fig Tree:
“He (Jesus) also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”
Luke 13:6-9 NKJV
This tree was barren and without leaves. The keeper of the vineyard had been pruning it to bear fruits for three years. But the tree had just refused to bear any fruit.
The Owner of the vineyard expected it to have been bearing fruit. He wanted a return back on His investment, and suggested to the vineyard keeper that, He would not like His investment on the landed property to be wasted by this barren fig tree. He wanted it uprooted completely and a new fig tree planted in replacement for it.
The keeper of the vineyard was patient and full of longsuffering. He wanted to try something different to make the tree bear fruits. If the tree refuses to become fruitful thereafter, He will have no choice but to cut it off. Our God is patient and longsuffering like this Vineyard Keeper. He will do everything for all of His children so that they can be spiritually fruitful in His Kingdom.
But if they refuse to bear fruit, then He will have no other choice but to cut them off. Are you bearing spiritual fruit or not in your Christian life? What are you doing for the Lord in His Kingdom right now, as the proof of your spiritual fruit? When the Lord God comes, He wants to see you bearing fruit.
A carnally minded Christian can’t be pruned.
Just as a carnally minded Christian cannot be consecrated to the Lord, the carnal Church can’t be consecrated to Him also. The carnally minded Christian loves the carnal Church more than he loves Jesus, because the carnal Church helps him to fulfill his fleshy desires.
The carnal Church is never seeking to be holy. A consecrated lifestyle to the Lord is too much for them to be living. So, they don’t really want to be part of Christ’s Body, because they see holiness as being too extreme for them. They prefer to identify themselves more with the world than with Jesus.
But in reality, the Scriptures tells us to:
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:”
Hebrews 12:14 NKJV
And the Apostle Paul enjoined us also concerning this by saying:
“That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 NKJV
The carnal Church cannot pursue holiness, as long as she’s clinging on to her desire for the things of this world. As long as she is primarily being dependent on the world and its system, instead of being dependent solely on the Lord Jesus, she will continue to struggle in bearing spiritual fruit.
The deceitfulness of sin within her has alienated her from the power of God to transform her.
These are the Christians who want to see God move in their midst, but without the genuine desire within them for God to work through their lives. What they are actually seeking in God’s Kingdom is the demonstration of the power of God, with miracles, signs and wonders without an inner transformation or renewal of their mind.
They have forgotten that God will only use yielded and committed vessels for His glory. They are clamoring for the move of God, without the desire in them to see the Holy and True God being glorified. They have no genuine desire within them to pursue after God and His Holiness.
They are seeking after the manifestation of God’s power, without His character in their lives. God’s holy gifts are available to us all as His children. But they are never given to those who are not desiring to have His character in their own personal lives.
Evidently, these ones love the world more than they do love the Lord Jesus. They have indeed chosen to go along in the way of the world, instead of following God’s written Word for the renewal of their minds.
They are in reality are not being consecrated at all, because they have not been renewing their minds with the word of God. They have chosen to live in the way of the world, instead of renewing their minds with God’s word. But God’s word is able to cleanse anyone from the filthy ways of this world (John 15:3).
This is why they are not qualified to be pruned by the Lord God for more spiritual fruit, because there is nothing in their Christian lives that’s solely committed to God. They love the world more than they love God. They are just like the barren fig tree in the Parable of Jesus above.
Bearing fruit is a matter of choice.
We do acknowledge that life itself is always full of choices. And it’s the choices which people do often make in life, that ends up defining their destinies. In the two examples of Jesus cursing the fig tree and His Parable of the barren tree, we can see that both trees had the choice to be fruitful, but they just didn’t want to bear fruits.
We are the ones who can determine if we want to bear spiritual fruit or not for God’s Kingdom. God will prune us so as to position us for bearing spiritual fruit, but we are the ones who will have to decide how much fruit we want to bear, or if we don’t want to bear any fruit at all.
God will never force anyone to bear spiritual fruit, but He will prune us for that purpose. He however expects us to do the right things to bear fruit for His Kingdom. It’s up to us to determine what we want to do with the pruning of the Lord God.
But the choices that we make does not change God’s plan for our lives on this earth. Those choices do have a way of defining who we are in that plan of God. It’s our choices in life that ends up determining the extent of our reach in the plan of God.
This is why you will often see bad things happening to good people, including good Christians. It’s absolutely true that good Christians can make bad choices also. This is because we are all humans, even though we do have God’s Spirit living in us. You do have a choice to obey the Spirit of God in your life, or to disobey Him. It’s a choice that God has given us all the free will to make.
Bad choices in life can affect your dreams and aspirations in life. This is why living the Christian life with a carnal mindset is dangerous. You will end up making decisions based on what the flesh or the carnal mind is leading you to make, while ignoring the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life.
The mind which is not being renewed with the word of God will end up making bad choices in life. This is how certain good Christians are grieving the Holy Spirit who lives in them (Ephesians 4:30).
Being a good Christian does not necessarily excuse you from bad things in life. A good Christian can also make bad decisions, that will affect the plan of God for his life. God is never to be blamed for those choices either. He had given us the free will to determine the path that we are taking in life.
God will always work with any of our choices in life to fulfill His promised plan for our lives. Making a bad choice only means that, you’re not going to get the best in the plan of God for your life. That’s why the Lord God said through Moses:
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT
God has placed the destinies in life of all men and women on the earth in their own hands. You can choose to love God with all your heart. It’s a matter of your own choice.
And you can also choose to be lukewarm towards Him. But the choice that you make will determine the outcome of your Christian life. But for every choice that you make in life as a Christian, you will have to answer before God in Heaven (Revelation 20:11-15).
That does not necessarily mean that God has rejected you, if you’ve realized that you had made a bad choice. His arm is always open to receive you, just like the father in the Parable of the Prodigal son received his wayward son back home. God can’t turn His back on any of His children. He loves you irrespective of the bad choices that you have already made.
And the good news is that He wants to fix your bad choices for you. This is the big question – “Will you let Him fix it for you?” You do have the choice of saying “No”. But your “No” as the answer does not change God. He is always faithful.
Unfortunately, many have chosen not to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. They have made the bad choice of life that may have consequences for them, before the White Judgement Throne of God. We shall all one day appear before Him, not to be condemned, but to be judged in righteousness. God will judge us based on our own choices in life.
You see, you are not a Christian just because you go to Church on a regular basis. Neither are you one because you are involved in doing something in the Church.
The reason why you are going to Church is for you, to learn how to hear God’s voice and know what He wants you to do in life. Being a doer of His word is what makes you a Christian. And if you’re not doing what He told you to do in the Bible, then you’re a rebel and you do need to repent – asking for His forgiveness.
We do live in a world that’s constantly changing. Everybody will tell you that they do know Jesus, and that they do believe in Him. There are a lot of people who are paying lip service to loving Him, but their heart is not devoted to doing what He tells them to do. They read His word daily, but they will never lift up a pin to do what His written word is telling them to do.
Are you prepared to allow God’s word to do the pruning in your life? God wants to bless you, and being pruned by Him is part of the process to prepare you for His blessing.
You can either surrender your life to Him in consecration, by finding out from His written word what He wants you to do with your Christian life. Or you may choose to continue living your life in the way you had been living before, without any real quality decision to be transformed by the renewal of your mind. The choice is clearly yours.
The pathway to your greatness in life begins with the daily choices that you are making as a Christian. Choose to allow God’s word to speak into your life. The world around you have nothing of eternal value to give you. Be wise and be smart.
Stop ignoring God’s voice to you, in the midst of the noises from the world that surrounds you. Stop using the divine protection of the Lord that you have, as an excuse for not seeking to be renewed in your mind; so as to be totally free from your false dependency on the world’s system.
You don’t need to be ignoring His voice to you. The foolishness of the world will eventually fade away. But where will you be in eternity? With Jesus or with those of the world?
Jesus is offering you a pathway to real life today. Choose life and reject death. Choose the blessing and reject the curse today. The choices are always open. And it will always be your own decision to choose either life or death. But whatever choice that you’re making, be sure to follow through to the very end with it. The possibilities available to you with it are endless.
You don’t want to be hanging in between the two decisions for life or for death. Such an indecision is in reality a decision for death. You can’t afford to be sitting in a spiritual vacuum. Be smart and wise to choose your life with God right now. Jesus is waiting on you.