Have you ever heard someone exclaim (or write), “ I was cut to the heart by what I read in Scripture”? If you’re like me, it’s been a very long time since you have. In the last several years, people I’ve encountered have been more likely to instead say, “God is teaching me so much through this sickness that I wouldn’t have learned any other way. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Jesus said, "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.“(John 15:1-3) Since the Greek words for “prune” and “clean” come from the same root, Jesus was saying that his word had pruned them already and they apparently didn’t need any other. If we stay in the Word (continually reading the New Testament and making the teachings our way of life) we won’t need any other kind* of “pruning” either. Sure, the Lord uses every situation, turning what the devil meant for evil into good,(see Romans 8:28) but it’s so much better to let the Holy Spirit convict and teach you through the Word of God.
*Persecution for Jesus’ name's sake is the kind of trial that God uses for chastening us and building character. Look for future posts on this.