“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3)
When many of us think of “pruning” happening in our lives as Christians, we may immediately of trials that God allows — and they surely may be a part of that process. But here Jesus indicates that His disciples are “clean” — a horticultural term, meaning “pruned” — but He says they are clean BECAUSE OF THE WORD which He spoke to them. In other words, it was His WORD that had “pruned” them!
This helps us understand that one of the primary instruments of God’s “pruning” work in our lives is His word:
— His word “prunes” us when we hear it each week in sermons and Bible study lessons: we are not there merely to sit and listen and check “sermon” off our weekly list; we are to allow the word to “prune” us; to “cut out” behavior and attitudes that should not be there; to make us more fruitful for future worship and service.
— Similarly His word is to “prune” us in our own personal Bible reading and study each day as well: the word should create greater levels of sanctification and service as it “prunes” us.
The question for each of us today is: is this happening? Have you put yourself in position to be “pruned” by the word of God, weekly in worship, and daily in your own Bible study time? When you are confronted by the word, are you opening yourself to it, allowing it to do its “pruning” work in you?
How do you know how effective you are in letting His word work in your life? It’s not what kind of “goosebumps” you get; it should be reflected in specific changes in your life. Are you repenting of sins; making progress in holiness; rising to greater levels of commitment and service? Are you letting the “pruning instrument” of God’s word, have its intended effect in your life?