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.
John 15:1-2 (NIV)
Read: John 15:1-8
Consider: If you are a gardener you will know that many plants generally respond well to pruning. Some years ago in my garden I had a rhododendron that had outgrown its space and I decided on radical pruning. The shrub was cut down to within 6 inches (15 cm) of the ground and it has now regrown into a more manageable size. The pruning in this instance saved the plant’s life, because if it hadn’t worked it would have been dug up and discarded. Every year I prune some other plants hard (e.g. fuchsia and buddleia), because they have the ability to put on exceptional new growth each year. Gardeners know that what might look cruel and unkind actually works to improve the plant. Fruit bushes and trees must be carefully pruned, knowing where the fruit spurs are located so as to increase the next year’s yield. Can you see that although pruning has to be done today, it is carried out in anticipation of future benefit.
In John 15 we have an account of what Jesus said about him being the true vine and us being the branches. The analogy is used of God being the gardener, who prunes the vine to make it more productive. I like the words ‘… even more fruitful’. This gives the impression that a branch left to its own devices might indeed be fruitful, but under God’s control it can produce much more fruit.
As a Christian it is likely that you will not relish the thought of God pruning you to make you more productive. While we will probably desire it spiritually, we know that it will involve God highlighting and cutting out undesirable things in our lives. Some of this pruning can be radical and even painful.
Are you willing to let God have his way in your life, knowing that his pruning is for your benefit and ultimately to make you more fruitful?
Pray: Father, may we be willing to truly surrender ourselves to your will, allowing you to prune us to be more fruitful for you. Amen