1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
God prunes us to help us grow. As we abide in Him, He makes us aware of things that are not essential to our life in him. They are things that hold us back. Intuitively we understand that this process must take place in order for us to grow. But surprisingly, the nature of the things God cuts are not merely the unfruitful areas of our life.
When the father comes to prune us he does two kinds of work. He cuts off branches that are not bearing fruit. Whether it be a sinful habit or unforgiveness, we can be so weighed down by their presence that it is ultimately a relief to be rid of them. It may be a painful process, but at the end of the day we are glad to not struggle with them any longer.
The second type of pruning can be more difficult. That is because it is done to areas of our lives that are fruitful. These are probably good things that we have a measure of competence in and enjoy. However, it is that very thing that makes them difficult to give up. We can become so bogged down in good activities and busyness that we cannot see the greater blessings that these things are keeping us from.
We allow the good to separate us from the best. We must learn to say no. Its is hard to give things like this up for a season or even for good. We find them rewarding and probably experience the thanks of admiration of others in doing them. But ultimately they keep us from the simplicity and fruitfulness God desires for us.
What good things in your life are keeping you from the best things?
Father, make me fruitful. Help me to discern with clarity the things that you want me to focus on in this season of my life. Help me to exchange my busyness for simplicity. Wean me away from my craving for the recognition of others. Introduce me to the greater delight I can know in finding your pleasure. Prune the fruitful parts of my life that I might bear even more fruit.