John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
What is the pruning knife of this heavenly Husbandman?
often said to be affliction. By no means in the first place. How would
it then fare with many who have long seasons free from adversity; or
with some on whom God appears to shower down kindness all their life
No; it is the Word of God that is the knife, sharper than any
two-edged sword, that pierces even to the dividing asunder of the soul
and spirit, and is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the
It is only when affliction leads to this discipline of the Word
that it becomes a blessing; the lack of this heart-cleansing through the
Word is the reason why affliction is so often unsanctified.
Paul's thorn in the flesh could become a blessing until Christ's
Word--"My strength is made perfect in weakness"--had made him see the
danger of self-exaltation, and made him willing to rejoice in
The Word of God's pruning knife. Jesus says: "Ye are already
clean, because of the word I have spoken unto you." How searchingly that
word had been spoken by Him, out of whose mouth there went a sharp
As he had taught them! "Except a man deny himself, lose
his life, forsake all, hate father and mother, he cannot be My
disciple, he is not worthy of Me"; or as He humbled their pride, or
reproved their lack of love, or foretold their all forsaking Him.
the opening of His ministry in the Sermon on the Mount to His words of
warning in the last night, His Word had tried and cleansed them. He had
discovered and condemned all there was of self; they were now emptied
and cleansed, ready for the incoming of the Holy Spirit.
It is as the soul gives up its own thoughts, and men's
thoughts of what is religion, and yields itself heartily, humbly,
patiently, to the teaching of the Word by the Spirit, that the Father
will do His blessed work of pruning and cleansing away all of nature and
self that mixes with our work and hinders His Spirit.
Let those who
would know all the Husbandman can do for them, all the Vine can bring
forth through them, seek earnestly to yield themselves heartily to the
blessed cleansing through the Word.
Let them, in their study of the
Word, receive it as a hammer that breaks and opens up, as a fire that
melts and refines, as a sword that lays bare and slays all that is of
The word of conviction will prepare for the word of comfort and of hope, and the Father will cleanse them through the Word.
All ye who are branches of the true Vine, each time you read
or hear the Word, wait first of all on Him to use it for His cleansing
of the branch. Set your heart upon His desire for more fruit. Trust Him
as Husbandman to work it.
Yield yourselves in simple childlike surrender
to the cleansing work of His Word and Spirit, and you may count upon it
that His purpose will be fulfilled in you.
Father, I pray Thee, cleanse me through
Thy Word. Let it search out and bring to light all that is of self and
the flesh in my religion. Let it cut away every root of self-confidence,
that the Vine may find me wholly free to receive His life and Spirit.
my holy Husbandman, I trust Thee to care for the branch as much as for
the Vine. Thou only art my hope.