“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.” – John 15:5-6
GOD IS in the pruning business!!
What is pruning? Any gardener could tell you that pruning is the process of regularly cutting off the old, dead or sick branches of a plant in order for new growth to occur. The idea is not to destroy the plant, but to cut it back so that the branch will become more productive.
God’s task is to produce fruit from his vineyard. The fruit I speak of is in the form of good works from us, His branches. There are two types of fruit that we produce when we “remain in Him…”
Inner fruit- We bear this kind of fruit when we allow God to nurture us in our lives (through the fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control)
Outward fruit- We bear this kind of fruit when we allow God to work through us to give HIM glory
God cuts off our branches that do not bear fruit, and EVERY branch that DOES bear fruit; He prunes so that it bears MORE fruit.
God ACTIVELY tends our lives so that we will keep producing MORE.
MORE fruit is ALWAYS possible because we were CREATED TO BEAR FRUIT.
Sound painful? It is.
Sound familiar? To me personally is definitely does.
It seems as though for the last several years I have been in a season of pruning. While I am willing to cooperate with God (the vine dresser), it is still extremely painful for God to be constantly pruning me, shaping me, and cutting me in order to produce more fruit!
While I know full well that God is NOT here to serve ME, (but rather, I exist to serve, bless, and give glory to God), I often wonder if there is ever an end in sight! And yet, I also realize that if I do NOT trust in HIS process, I may miss out on the blessings that He has prepared for me.
So what is the key to bearing fruit (i.e. producing good works for the glory of God, while at the same time nurturing our inward souls)? For me, it has been to ALLOW and PERMIT God to prune me, which is experienced through pain. Although NONE of us like to feel pain, it is necessary for us in order to grow!
There are two types of pain during the pruning process which we should learn to differentiate between and become aware of…
Discipline: Pain comes from discipline when we do something wrong. In these moments, we are producing no fruit, and God disciplines us because He desires to see fruit in our lives. In these instances, we need to become aware of what sins we need to let go of. What branches (i.e. toxic relationships, bad behavior s) do we need to repent of in order to produce fruit?
Pruning: Pain comes from pruning because we did something RIGHT. When we begin to produce fruit (good works to give glory to God), God desires to see MORE fruit. In these instances, we need to become aware of what part of ourselves we are being asked to LET GO OF. What branches need to be released so that we can continue to do HIS work?
The truth is God often helps us recognize the things that are inhibiting our growth. As painful as this process is at times, pruning helps us to become the BEST version of ourselves rather than a second rate version of ourselves.
Do NOT let the season of pruning go to waste!! Find purpose in your pain, and use your pain to bless others!
If you are being pruned, ask God to reveal what you need to let go of. TRUST Him enough to release it completely to Him. And remember…
The most JOY FILLED Christians are the most pruned Christians!!