The Pruning Process
John 15 is my all-time favorite passage of the Bible, but it’s also the most painful to my flesh. I cannot think of any other passage that allows me comprehend more just how close we must stick to our Lord in order to live and thrive in this world. These scriptures also relay to me just how much God loves me.
Sadly, there are a lot of believers today who are simply existing. Some are even withering away. They are not growing, conquering new territory, winning victories, sharing Christ with others, or becoming any closer to God. They may go to church, but they are not evolving or changing. Friends, this type of life is contrary to God’s Word and is really dismissing the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. God created you to be on this earth, for this season, to accomplish a specific purpose. Despite your beginnings, your marital status, your upbringing, or your age, you are not here by accident. There is a purpose for you today. In order to fulfill this purpose, you must grow and develop in your relationship with Jesus Christ.
In John 15, Jesus explains our relationship to Himself by giving us the example of a plant. Jesus is the Vine, God is the Vinedresser, and we are the branches. The vine is the source of life. A branch cannot water itself, feed itself, sustain itself, nor survive on its own. It must draw water, nutrients, and life through the vine. To do this, Jesus calls us to abide in Him; to draw close to, to stay near to, to obey, to listen to, and to continually feed from. In other words, we must see Jesus as our source for every need and continually draw from Him through the reading of the Word, prayer, worship, praise, and obedience.
Now we come to the Vinedresser - God Almighty. The vinedresser continually prunes the vine in order for bigger and better fruit to emerge. Any gardener knows that, in order to have prettier flowers, or more succulent vegetables and fruits, they must continually prune a plant so that the nourishment is focused on fewer branches, thus giving those branches a more concentrated boost. If the nourishment had to be spread out over every branch, then the plant would produce smaller, less pleasing fruit, or sometimes nothing at all. These branches eventually wither away. We, as humans, can do the same thing when we allow ourselves to be pulled away from our supply, our Vine.
What is God trying to prune in your life? God wants to prune every single thing in your life that is contrary to His purpose for you; those things that keep you from being all He created you to be. This could include
unforgiveness, addictions, ungodly relationships, a job that you depend on for your very existence, sin, hurts from the past, unfaithfulness, deceitfulness, idolatry, laziness, etc. Sometimes we heed the call of the Holy Spirit to put away certain things from our lives ourselves. Other times, God forces us to put those things away by allowing certain circumstances in our lives.
He may allow a relationship to fail. He may allow you to lose your job. He may place someone in your life to reveal the truth of His Word to you. Don’t despise these people! You desperately need to hear the truth! He may allow an illness in your body. God is willing to allow whatever it takes to get your attention because He knows just how desperately you need Him. Don’t hear me wrong, God does not have any evil intentions towards you, but He loves you so much that He is willing to let you suffer so that you will turn to Him to give you what you truly need. Jesus says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)
Some of us have undergone extensive pruning throughout our lives, sometimes even to the point of being the only branch on the vine. This process can be extremely painful, but there’s hope and reward if we hang in there. God knows what we have need of, even better than we do (Mat. 6:8). We don’t need those dead branches in our lives hanging around, sapping the Divine energy away from us! God wants us to produce the very best fruit in our lives. The hardest part of the pruning process is that it never ends! We think we have let go of a dead branch in our lives, and then God calls us to do it again and again. This demonstrates just how much God loves us! He not only wants us to produce good fruit, but even more and better fruit!
If you live another 30, 40, or 50 years, do you want to look back and see that nothing changed in your life, that you had no impact on anyone around you, or that you didn’t achieve all the things you wanted? Do you want more out of life? There is no other way for this to happen than to allow God to take His loving shears and continually prune the dead branches out of your life. Trust your heavenly Father to do what’s best for you.
Copyright 2006 From My Heart To Yours