Jesus said, “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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you [again the power of the spoken word]. Remain in me, and I will 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.” John 15:1-4
“I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:5-8
Those who understand pruning understand the importance of it. Deliverance is likened to pruning. When we cut of the branches that are not bearing fruit and stunting the overall growth of the tree, the tree is able to grow in strength and fullness. The same concept applies to our lives. I want to share this excerpt from “The Fruit of Christ’s Presence”:
“For most of my early life I could not understand why people pruned their fruit trees. In South Carolina where I grew up, we produced an enormous amount of peaches. My mother used to take us to Watson’s peach orchard to pick peaches. The trees were thick with peaches and luxuriant foliage, but each year the limbs were cut back to the trunk of the tree. I thought it was a waste. Why not let those limbs grow and grow and grow?
When I moved to Kentucky, our neighbors had a peach tree. They thought it was a shame to prune back the limbs every year, so they let the tree grow and take its own course. Instead of the strong, sturdy trunk of the trees back home, its trunk is thin and willowy. Instead of the thick, lush foliage, its foliage is sparse and scraggly. Worst of all, instead of the softball-size peaches that covered the Watson’s trees, its fruit is small and hard like golf balls and only speckles the tree here and there.
Pruning does not detract from a fruit tree’s beauty; it enhances it. Pruning is not a punishment for a Christian; it is a reward. God is the vinedresser who prunes the life of everyone who abides in Christ and bears the fruit of Christ. Spiritual pruning enhances spiritual growth by removing whatever inhibits spiritual growth.” (https://www.uu.edu/societies/inklings/books/FruitofChristsPresence/Fruit_Chapter2.pdf)
I wanted to share today the importance of periodically pruning our lives and found this passage that clearly shows that effects of pruning. Pruning in our own lives has the same effects. When we examine our lives…our thoughts, words, behaviors, and actions…there is a reason why we are the way we are. Do we have to remain where we are? Absolutely not! But the process to get from where we are to where we want to be may require some pruning, some renewing, some training, and a deeper intimacy with the Lord. Further down in John 15, Jesus tells us, “Now, remain in my love.” This is a call to intimacy. Even further down, Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” This fruit is the blessing and favor of the Lord and is a tool that draws others to Christ. He wants us bearing good fruit.
What does the fruit that you are producing in your life look like? Is your fruit like the lush, softball sized peaches first described or like the small, hard golf ball size that are small in number? Are you satisfied with what your life is producing? We are not just talking financial production, but mental, emotional, spiritual, behavioral, our children, the people we impact, etc. If you do not like what you see, go before the Lord and ask Him to examine you. Ask Him what changes need to be made. Maybe there are some branches that need to be cut completely off.