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. John 15:1, 2
As we look into the pruning process I must share my wife's pruning ability. When I first saw the pruning work of my wife, Joyce, I thought she killed the plant or at least stunted its growth forever. Boy, was I wrong! It grew back and looked great! Now, if my wife does a heavy duty pruning I trust her, as I have seen that her pruning is helping the plant. Also, after my wife first prunes a plant it is rather ugly, but given time it turns beautiful.
Most of you know that trees need pruning in order to grow properly and bear fruit. Pruning involves cutting off the dead branches and cutting back the living branches, both to shape the tree or vine and to stimulate growth. So much more with our heavenly Father, as He is the perfect pruner, when He prunes us we know that He knows what He's doing and the end result is you will be more beautiful in God's vineyard. According to this verse, pruning sounds to me like a painful process! However, as painful as it can be to go through this “process,” it is necessary and worthwhile. Think about it, the branch that bears NO FRUIT is history, but it is the fruit bearing branch that he PRUNES so that it will bear MORE FRUIT. As Christians you are pruned NOT because you have no fruit, but so you'll have even more.
1. God's pruning is to get rid of stuff in our life that is not healthy.
Often we allow sin (always wrong and bad) or even weights (not necessarily bad/sin, but not beneficial, something that holds us back) into our lives, and it hinders us from bearing fruit or much fruit.
Heb. 12:11 states: " For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
Heb. 12:1 states: "...let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..."
2. God’s pruning redirects our spiritual growth.
Each branch that is cut stops the plant's growth in one direction and redirects it in another. Sometimes God shuts a door in one area because He wants to refocus our efforts, energy and gifting in another – often one where He knows we’ll be more effective. If we exist to bring God glory and build His kingdom, it’s not so much about where I want to go and what I want to do, but where He can use me the most.
3. God’s pruning improves the quantity and quality of fruit in our lives.
Pruning at the right time and in the right place can actually increase the number of shoots produced by a plant, thus, increasing its yield. A temporary decrease in an area of your life will actually bring the increase! Don’t give up on the vision God has given you, but press on. Your breakthrough could be right around the next corner.
Jesus desires for us to bear fruit for him, we start with fruit, then MORE fruit and then MUCH fruit.
I like what I have heard stated that we find ourselves in one of three states right now.
Either we are:
1. Being pruned
2. Healing/recovering after being pruned or
3. We are in full bloom. (But don’t get too excited if you are in full bloom, because you are about to be pruned again.)
If you are a Christian, you are going to be pruned. Count on it. None of us are immune to it. You may not be in the pruning process right now…you may be in full bloom, enjoying a relatively easy life. Praise God! Enjoy it! But don’t get too comfortable…the scissors are going to come your way again!