Withered Branches, Day 14

January 14th, 2011

Key Scripture:

John 15:6. "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.

Key Idea:

The lessons these words teach are very simple and very solemn. A man can come to such a connection with Christ, that he counts himself to be in Him, and yet he can be cast forth. There is such a thing as not abiding in Christ, which leads to withering up and burning. There is such a thing as a withered branch, one in whom the initial union with Christ appears to have taken place, and in whom yet it is seen that his faith was but for a time.
-- Murray

Pray for revelation:

Withered! O my Father, watch over me, and keep me, and let nothing ever for a moment hinder the freshness that comes from a full abiding in the Vine. Let the very thought of a withered branch fill me with holy fear and watchfulness.
-- Murray

Key words:
Withered,
Cast out,
Burned.

Let's consider a normal vine. A fact of life is that some branches will, at some point, just wither and stop producing.

The same thing also happens in the spiritual context of the vine. Sometimes, what seemed to be a productive, healthy branch shrivels. A person loses their grounding, or somehow limits their contact with Jesus. While living life, swinging in the breeze, outside things begin to seem more important. Let's not point fingers at who might be a withered branch. It just might be you. I hope not.

Rather than pointing fingers, or being judgemental. As fellow branches, there isn't much we can do. We can encourage, we can show our concern, but the relationship for any branch is to be attached directly to the vine itself.

The only person your decisions are garanteed to affect is you alone. The motivation for abundant living, or to stay attached, or to not be distracted by outside influence, or just the desire to do your own thing, is something that each individual is in control of.

Bad decisions affect others as well, but the person making those decisions are for sure holding the key to their own fate.

What happens to withered branches in the vine? They are removed, taken away and burned. They are useless in producing fruit and they absorb valuable sap that other branches could be using.

Is that insensitive? No, just practical. Remember though, it is God, the farmer, who prunes. Not a fellow branch.

The words that are translated as: to 'cast out' and 'throws' are the same word, but the tense that is used seems to say that the bad branches are continuously being thrown. And that once they are thrown away, they won't be coming back. There's no future in the overall plan of the vine for the cast off branches.

Gods judgements are not in a realm that we can question. His judgements are final and permanent. As branches, our only job is to make sure that we aren't one of the withered ones. In reading these words, and the ones written thus far, I hope you are on the road to renewing your connection.

Reconnect, be refreshed, and get reacquainted with the vine.

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