“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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit,” John 15:1-2 NKJV
Jesus’ teaching about the vine and the branches is one of the most readily quoted. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5 NKJV
Without Him we can do nothing. However, the scripture prior to that, John 15:2 is often skimmed over. It is easy to realize how dependent we are on Christ, yet most of us are remiss and become ill at the notion that to become fruitful we must be pruned.
Without pruning, even the best specimens in any garden will eventually lose the ability to bear fruit. At the very least, the output will greatly diminish. The limbs will become weak and unable to support what little fruit that is produced. Comparatively, the same tree that has been pruned will be shorter but stronger.
Trees and shrubs that have been freshly pruned usually look awful. Where I live Crepe Myrtles trees are blooming now. However, for them to bloom to the fullest, dead limbs are cut away in winter. The trees look so bad after their winter pruning the process is jokingly called “Crepe Murder.”
We often look bad and feel bad when our Father takes to pruning us as well. Sometimes it may be a stray branch here or there that is removed. But then there are times in our lives when we may feel like we’ve been taken all the way down to the roots!
Pruning is painful.
We may even feel like we’re dying all the while God is preparing us to produce more! We don’t often see it at the time or understand. We can feel bad and look worse. Yet, Jesus promises that every branch that does bear fruit God prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
Sometimes the removal of things in our lives, though devastating at the moment, eventually make us stronger. Sometimes there is a reason so-called “friends” leave. It may be a job. Or even a relationship.
God cuts off what is not good for us. God often removes those things or people we would in no way leave on our own.
We can have faith knowing that He is our life source and through Him we will be fine no matter how deep the cut. Our progression in life requires some pruning. Thankfully, the potential fruit is well worth the temporary pain.
The next time you experience a hardship, disappointment or painful experience; don’t assume it is an attack from the enemy. It might be time for God’s hand on you.
It may just be time for you to produce more fruit than you thought possible!
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:7-8 NKJV