Is life about being happy?

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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.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 
John 15: 1-8

Many people are disappointed with God because they are not happy. People walk away from Jesus because their life is miserable. Why follow Jesus if everything is still miserable? Shouldn’t we deserve to be happy if we believe in Jesus and do the right thing?

But what if God doesn’t care that much about our happiness?

Jesus says he is the Vine and that we are his branches. He wants his branches to grow so that they will bear much fruit. That is the true purpose of the vines: to bear fruit. We fulfill our purpose by bearing fruit.

Now here’s the interesting part: God prunes the branches that bear fruit and cuts off the ones that do not bear fruit. Unfruitful branches have to go because they are useless! But he prunes the fruitful ones to keep them healthy and growing.

Our spiritual health and growth are more important than our happiness. That is why God allows us to go through some pruning in our lives. We need to leave certain things behind so that we can grow in God and achieve our purpose in him. And when we are not ready to let go of those things ourselves, our loving God takes out his pruning knife and get to work. It will be hard because we are not ready to let go of these things. It will bring heartaches and pain. But pruning is necessary in order for us to let go and grow. 

We need to decide what we want in life: do we want to be happy or do we want to be who God wants us to be?

If you’re committed to pursue happiness, comfort, and security, then I wish you well. Go and seek those things. But I would advise you to check first whether those things are eternal or if they are  temporary. We are immortals so make sure whatever you choose to do will have eternal significance and not just a temporary distraction as we all live in this broken world.

If we’re serious about growing and bearing fruit for Jesus, then we must constantly dwell in him. We must always be connected to him so that we can grow in him even more.

And sometimes that means pruning. It means going through some processing time in order that we come out healthy and growing, ready to bear a lot of fruit. A healthy branch must be pruned.

There is no other way.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath

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