Our God is a Gardener

Our God is a Gardener

Many Christians are familiar with Jesus’ I AM statement in John chapter 15, but few remember Jesus’ “my Father is” statement in the same chapter. Many of us have  memorized John 15:5 in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” But have we memorized verses 1 and 2 of the same chapter? They read:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Did you know the Heavenly Father is a gardener? He’s got pruning shears in His hands. And according to Jesus, He actually uses them. He checks on each of His branches to see how they are doing. If they aren’t bearing fruit, He simply takes them away. Why? Because they are already dead. They can’t and won’t bear any fruit if they are dead. Jesus teaches that these branches will eventually be gathered up and burned (John 15:6).

Now if a branch is bearing fruit, the Father doesn’t just leave it alone. He doesn’t walk on by. No, he starts pruning and does so in love. He rejoices to see that the branch is producing fruit, but like every good vinedresser He desires to see even more. A vinedresser glories in the fruit of his labor, right? He doesn’t want just any fruit— He wants to see healthy, ripe, and abundant fruit. It should be our desire to bring glory to the Father by bearing the most beautiful fruit the world has ever seen. After all, this is how we prove to be His disciples (John 15:8). But, if this is going to happen, the Father has to use His shears. It can be a painful process; in fact, it will be a painful process. But ultimately, if it for our good and His glory. English theologian and Bible commentator, John Trapp, had this to say about God’s pruning:

And if it be painful to bleed, it is worse to wither. Better be pruned to grow than cut up to burn.

This is true, is it not? What is a cut compared to fire?

In the end, this all boils down to bearing good fruit. But, don’t forget the verse I said you probably already memorized, John 15:5. We can’t bear any of this fruit on our own. We must be abiding in Christ. Like branches to a vine, we must be attached to our source of life if we are to live! Praise the Lord for sending us His Spirit to help us to abide in Him.

Finally, remember that when the Father is pruning, Jesus never leaves us. He is with us through all the pain. He clings to us ever so tightly. And it isn’t just that He is close by or near in proximity. Rather, we are truly in Him and He in us.

John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you…”

3 Things I Love About Being a Father

As a relatively new father, I am still learning things each and every day. I do not consider myself an expert when it comes to parenting, but I do consider myself extremely blessed by God. Being a father is a joy unlike any other in this life. And contrary to an unspoken, yet popular belief of guys my age, children don’t ruin “the best years of your life.” I would argue that these are the best years of my life so far because now my daughter is in them. Is my life easier? Maybe not, but it is overflowing with joy. Today a want to talk about three joys I get to experience everyday by being a father.

1. Having someone call me daddy

It seems so simple, yet it is so profound. At one time in my life, no one could call me “daddy” because I wasn’t one. Now, no one can take that title away from me. One of the sweetest sounds in all the universe is to hear my little girl say “DADDY!” from across a room. God has given me the responsibility and privilege to be her daddy. I never want to take that for granted.

2. Being able to watch her grow

I can’t believe that my daughter will be turning 2 this year. It seems like last week we were taking her home from the hospital. Now she is literally running around the house. I have loved every second of watching her grow and discover new things about the world around her. If you ask me, she is some kind of baby genius, but I guess every parent feels that way. It has been especially fun to watch her grow up in a foreign country. She is learning English and Thai faster than I ever could have imagined! I feel so very blessed to have front row seat through every milestone.

3. Teaching her about her Father in heaven

As a Christian father, I have the greatest responsibility of training my daughter up in the ways of the Lord. I get to teach her about the One who saved my soul and can do the same for her. I, alongside her mother, get to teach her how to pray, read the Bible, and love people like Jesus. What a tremendous honor! Recently, we have been asking if she would like to pray before bed. Usually her bedtime prayer is this: “God, I love you so much. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.” Right now she doesn’t really understand what she is saying, but one day she will. She will remember the example we set in praying to the Father. Like the Shane and Shane song says, “I wish that I could be your everything…but sometimes I’m gonna let you down.” I may not be able to give her everything she needs, but I can point her to the Father who can always provide.


I am not a perfect father. I have days where I lose my temper and have no patience for her crying. I have days where I choose to play on my phone, instead of with her, when I know that is all she wants. I need God’s grace and strength at all times to be the father I am suppose to be. I am so thankful for His love and example of how I am to love my little girl. When my love falls short of perfection, His loves carries right on through.

Thank you, Father. I love you so much. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.