"If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."
Children are usually quite young when they first begin to insist to family members, “I can do it myself!” Have you noticed that we rarely grow out of that? The only difference is that we grown-ups shout these words to God! Today’s Bible passage from John 15 is painful for the self-sufficient, self-assured person to read. The images of being thrown away, withering, and burning cause the independent person to want to look the other way. Yet it often takes being tossed, burned, and thrown away for us to see ourselves for what we are. We begin to learn that we actually are NOT the ones in control. We begin to look off of ourselves and onto Christ who was cast off and forsaken for us. Oh, my soul, the truth is painful: it’s my own strength that needs burning away.
The Lord will trim and prune away the places of your life where you live independent of Him. He may make a radical cut, or He may work more gradually. He will shape you into His artistry like a gardener who makes even the most unlikely plant or shrub appear beautiful.
GENTLE JESUS, HELP US THROW AWAY OUR OWN PRETENDING AT FAITH AND LIVE IN YOUR ABIDING LOVE. SHOW US THE WEAKNESS OF OUR STRENGTH.