Teflon Coated Christians


Kyle Ray, senior pastor of Kentwood Community Church, recently wrote this thought provoking piece for his congregation. With his gracious permission, I am passing it along to my readers at Revitalize Your Church.

"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, and I will 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 a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:1-5)

Jesus reminds his listeners that apart from him they can do nothing. Connectedness leads to fruitfulness. Connectedness to the vine leads to fruitfulness in the kingdom. After Jesus describes that God cuts off fruitless branches and prunes fruitful branches so that they can bear more fruit, he says in verse 3, "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you."
The Greek word for "clean" is katharos which means pure or free from the adhesion of anything that soils or corrupts. So, in a sense, Jesus is saying to his audience that because of the word that he has spoken to them, there is a purifying or a separation from the stickiness of the world that has already taken place in them. Considering that the verse follows verse 2 about pruning, you could even argue that Jesus is saying that the disciples have already been pruned and prepared for fruitful living. Bringing an interpretation into our day and age, you could argue that the study of the Bible (God's word) does a cleansing or a purifying work in our hearts.

John 15:3 is one of those passages that make a compelling argument for daily Bible reading. One contemporary interpretation would be to say that when we reflect on God's Word (the Bible), we get a Teflon like coating sprayed on us that frees us from the stickiness of the issues of this world. In other words, I become like a non-stick cooking pan. I might get a whole lot of stuff thrown at me each day and there may be times when the temperature of life heats up, but because of the Word of God working in my life, a catharsis (origin: katharos) or a release of emotional tension can take place in me. In other words, stuff might want to stick to me, but because of God's Word in me, the stuff of this world should slide right off. In another sense, even if my circumstances don't change, I gain a new found ability to keep moving unhindered and unburdened because the problems of my circumstances can't stick to me.

Spend some time reading the Bible today, and see what kind of cleansing happens as God's Word is spoken into you.

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