John 15:1-3 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Jesus life is like the life in a vine. When we are in Jesus, His life comes into us and makes us able to do what is right. We are the branches in this illustration as Christians. If we don’t live in such a way that we are productive, doing what Jesus commands, disciplinary action is taken by God.
There is a kind of disciplinary action that is pretty strong. I think we see this here in the words: “He takes away.” John mentions this in one of his other books in the Bible, I believe. He mentions that some sin that we commit leads to death.
In the movie “Bruce Almighty”, but there was an interesting situation that I think helps to illustrate this issue. Bruce decides to get God’s attention by stopping his car in the middle of the road praying out in the street. He makes a beautiful prayer and as he finishes, a truck runs him over. He asks God why He was killed, and God says something like, “You can’t stand in the middle of the freeway and expect to live to tell about it.”
Sin is harmful to everyone including ourselves. God can decide to take us home if we are causing enough trouble.
Now just because we aren’t sinning doesn’t mean we won’t be having any troubles. Even the branches that are bearing good fruit will end up being “pruned.” Pruning is cutting things off of other things. If we are the branch, then God would be cutting things off of us! Usually we prune old dead things off leaving the productive behind.
Lastly, it is God’s word that cleans us. Perhaps if we spend more time in God’s word, we will see and take action against the dead things in our lives before God has to. God wants us to be self controlled and self disciplined and He helps us accomplish this by His Holy Spirit. God’s word can cut like pruning because it doesn’t feel good to find out we have been doing something wrong. But in the end, we will bear more fruit.