Being Pruned

Scripture: John 15:2, ‘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.’

 

Observations: Jesus says to his disciples, ‘I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. (v1)’ In the Old Testament ‘the vine’ was a common metaphor for God’s people Israel. Unfortunately, they didn’t produce fruit, however, Jesus is the ‘true’ vine, he is the fulfilment of God’s people, and it’s those who are connected to Christ, the branches, who are God’s people. But then Jesus introduces ‘my Father,’ as the gardener. And his does two things. Firstly, ‘He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit.’ It may seem like Jesus is saying that it’s possible to be a Christian ‘to be in him’ but to lose your salvation. But Jesus’ point is that if you were truly in him you would bear fruit, because the life of the branch flows from the vine. Branches that don’t bear fruit don’t belong to the vine and they are burned (v6). Secondly, the Father prunes every branch that does bear fruit. No person is exempt from this pruning process. But God’s purpose is to make us more fruitful. While the pruning process might be painful it is for our good. The letter to the Hebrews makes a similar point when it says, ‘God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb 12:10-11)’

 

Application: Firstly, are you ‘in Christ?’ Do you believe that he is the Christ, do you believe he died for you, have you submitted your life to him? Unless you are ‘in him’ you won’t bear fruit that will last. Without Christ all your goodness result from your own efforts and they won’t have any eternal significance. Without Christ all your efforts are just fuel for the fire. Secondly, if you are in Christ expect to be pruned. Expect God to allow you to go through difficult circumstances, not to hurt you, but to grow you and make you more fruitful. If you are going through something difficult now ask God what he wants you to know, or how he wants you to change. Maybe he wants you to rely on yourself less and trust him more.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You are the gardener who tends my life. You grafted me into Your Son, through faith in his death on the cross. And Lord, You water and feed me through Your Holy Spirit who lives in me. And You prune my life and grow me through the circumstances You allow in my life. Lord, may those circumstances not cause me to complain, or to doubt Your love. Instead may I see Your loving hand guiding me and strengthening me. Lord, I want to be more fruitful. Lord, I want to encourage others. I want to grow Your kingdom and see Your name glorified. Lord, I want to become more like Jesus. So, even though it may be painful, prune me Lord, I pray, in Jesus name. Amen.

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