“Separated, you can’t produce a thing.
Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.” John 15:6
Yes, home with Jesus is an exclusive HOME.
By exclusive, I mean that there is a distinction between what is dead and what is fruitful in our lives.
Intimacy with Jesus (as we noticed in verse 5) produces abundant fruit. Now we see the contrast. Being separated from Jesus is a useless life.
Jesus addresses two important questions …
- How does that separation happen? We choose it … “anyone who separates from me,” Jesus says. Here, separation is not a punishment that Jesus gives but an observation that He makes about our home with Him.
- And if we separate, how does Jesus respond? When I read that He gathers deadwood and throws in on the fire, it seems like it must be destroyed. It’s not wood that will be used to heat a home or make a fire to cook a meal over. It won’t be repurposed. It’s bonfire wood … wood to be burned up all at once in a big heap. Trash, diseased, harmful wood goes on a bonfire.
This exclusive home with Jesus is free of the deadwood … free of SIN. Separation is sin, right? Jesus provides no place for sinful living in our home with Him.
There’s no place for dead wood, dead faith – it will be cleared out.
I have a small decorative tree in my house. It started as part of a red twig dogwood that began to die out last year. After I trimmed off all the dead branches, there just wasn’t much left of the bush. So the entire dogwood had to go. I burned some, and I used some red twigs for winter decoration in planters.
One particular branch, though, has stuck around for the whole year. I put a string of tiny lights on it, hung a few tin stars and re-purposed it with other reclaimed treasures in a corner by the window.
Spiritually speaking, what if we try to live with dried up twig trees in the corner of our homes with Jesus? They are separated from the life we have with Jesus, but we keep these sin areas in our hearts. Maybe we put them in a pot, hang some lights and stars.
We repurpose our sin. We think other people will like to look at how we’ve put it to good use. Perhaps we reason,
- a sin of gossip can be put to good use if we promise to pray about it …
- our sin of greed can be put to good use if we give some of it away …
- the sin of gluttony and excess can be put to good use if it satisfies me …
- even a sin of profanity – cursing in God’s name – can be put to good use if it draws people in, makes them smile and think that Christians are cool …
When we make ourselves at home with Jesus, He’s going to build a bonfire, don’t you think? He will exclude all that’s dead and separated from life with Him. And when He does, all that will be left will be what’s fruitful and life-giving, attached to the vine and drawing life from Him.
Reflection: This video reminds us to focus our attention on God: Looking UP Clink on the link and as you watch, consider what areas of your life might be dead, separated from the life of Jesus and ready for the bonfire.