Cutting Off Bad Fruit

by | Nov 21, 2020 | Devotional, Featured, Practical Discipleship, Theology

I love apples! Green Granny Smith apples to be precise. I typically cut up the apple into two halves, cut those halves into corners and then I cut the extra sides off the main core of the apple to get 6 delicious slices of apples. 

The other day as I was cutting up one of my apples, as does usually happen, there was a bad piece on the apple. Usually it’s just a bruised piece, but a piece I would prefer not to eat nonetheless. So as you can see from the image I usually cut it off of that delicious quarter piece of apple. 

On the one hand, I hate having to miss even just a tiny portion of the apple. On the other hand, there’s something that feels good about just cutting it off. It’s way easier to cut it off in the beginning than to try and just eat around it later. 

You may be catching on to where I’m going with this. As Christ-followers, we should be bearing fruit. And not just any fruit, but good fruit! But sometimes even good fruit needs to have small pieces trimmed off of them so the good part of the fruit can be enjoyed. 

In John 15, Jesus is in some of His final moments with the Disciples. He’s providing them with a ton of information about what is to come and what it will mean to be true Disciples moving forward. So He says this:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

Another really good listen is this sermon by Henri Nouwen where he describes the pruning process and even though it may hurt, it will help us to reclaim our belovedness. 

Your spiritual life is going to need pruned. Not just once a year. I would venture to say every day, but certainly every week. You’ll need to identify ways you need to cut off those things that are not producing good fruit – those things that are holding you back from a deeper relationship with Jesus. It will be painful. It will hurt. But as Jesus says in his hyperbolic language, And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (I know I shouldn’t have to say this, but please don’t literally go cut off your arm.)

So how do you do this in a practical way?

1. Take communion.

Communion is that time where we are 100% present with Jesus and with the elements in hand, we are forced to remember the cross. We are forced to come to terms with remembering why we followed Jesus in the first place. So as you ask for forgiveness before taking the elements, ask Jesus, “How can I love you better this week? What do I need to cut off so that I can grow closer to you?” After that, allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and write down in your journal what you believe Jesus is asking you to do. You can learn more about communion here.

2. Authentic Accountability.

Who is in your inner circle? Those people who are your inner circle, who also follow Jesus, will most likely have some suggestions for what you need to cut off. Now, if you’ve gone through this practice on my page before, you know that we need to take what they say with a grain of salt and pray about it. You want people to speak into your life to help you grow but you also don’t want people to manipulate you either. So use their feedback to help you grow, not to manipulate you. Check out my practice on Authentic Accountability here.

3. Put a plan in motion.

It’s easy to say, “I’m going to stop doing X, Y, and Z.” However, following through with it can be challenging. So once you have that thing you need to cut off, let your inner circle know and that you want them to keep you accountable. Then, make sure to journal each day how you’ve overcome or struggled through that thing. Some days will be better than others and THAT’S OKAY because Jesus still loves you and forgives you. And if you’re up to it, put a S.M.A.R.T. plan in motion to begin overcoming this (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, Time-bound.) 

Pruning is hard. But I believe that we can do them together when we are engaged in an authentic community of believers. So remain in Jesus. Take one step a day towards cutting off those things that are holding you down. Let your inner circle know. Write it down. And finally, be proactive in taking small simple steps every day towards growing closer to Jesus!

Marantha/ מרנאתא,

-Justin

 

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About The Author

Justin Boothby is a lifelong student who loves to travel, film, write, design websites, and life coach. Most importantly he loves to Pastor in all different kinds of ministry settings. He’s also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

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Leave A Comment

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this article! Please remember to be kind and respectful. If you didn't like something, I always welcome constructive criticism. However, any form of hatred, bullying, or racism will not be tolerated.

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Notify of
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This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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About The Author

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context.

M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem
M.Div. Regent University
B.S. Southeastern University

About Justin

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context. He would not be where he is today without his incredible wife, Lauren! While he's a pastor at heart, he's also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

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