“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.....
and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15: 1, 2b
Picture this………… You’re a strong, healthy branch, firmly attached to the Perfect Vine. Your leaves have been a vibrant green and you have produced huge clusters of grapes. Even now there are buds of new growth bursting out all over you – heralding more fruit to come.
Along comes the Vinedresser. His face lights up when He sees you, and His eyes twinkle with that unmistakable look of love. You are so proud to show Him what you have produced, and the promise of even more things to come!
You notice that the Vinedresser has pruning shears in His hand. Suddenly you feel searing pain as the instrument cuts into you. Severed leaves, woody bark, fruit and new buds all crash to the ground below you. The Vinedresser seems unconcerned that He is stepping on your hard work – the very things that you thought would have been so pleasing to Him. He pauses briefly to step back, smile and admire His handiwork before resuming the painful lacerations.
At the end of it all you stand before Him stripped bare except for a few short nubs that are closest to the Vine.
You have just received another touch of love from the Vinedresser.
In the natural, when grape vines are pruned it is not just to remove parasites that may have attached themselves to the branch from the outside. The main purpose for pruning is to remove growth that came from within the branch itself - growth that once was very positive and productive. The greater the growth, however, the greater is the need to be pruned.
You see, a branch that is left to grow without pruning may produce a lot of fruit, but the quality is inferior. This is because its nutrients have to be disbursed to too many of its parts. Long stems from a previous season's growth make the vine look productive on the outside, but they consume too much sap. So when the branch is cut back to just a few shoots, the sap is concentrated in a limited area. When new fruit come forth they are abundant and of high quality.
Just like the natural branch, those “long stems”, “fruit” and “buds of opportunity” in your life can be a hindrance, so the Father uses His Word and experiences in your life as instruments to prune you.
Are you due for a pruning? You are if...
- You are involved in multiple ministries, activities or projects and you have little quality time to spend abiding in the presence of the Lord.
- You have been working hard, but the fruit of your labor is less than satisfactory.
- You are feeling dry spiritually, even though you have been going through the motions.
- You have become satisfied and comfortable with your role as a (fill in the blank) _______________, and what you have accomplished in that role.
- You have allowed the sin of pride to infiltrate your life by becoming dependent on your own abilities and accomplishments.
- You have been secretly or openly taking credit for your “fruit”. For example: you may credit your qualifications, your children, your position in church or in the secular arena to your own self-effort.
- You are at a crossroad in your life.
- Friends, family or other interests distract you and keep you from focusing on your calling in Christ.
- You have accomplished great things for the Kingdom of God recently.
- You have been self-absorbed.....allowing your imagination to get the better of you, and you have been envisioning yourself reacting to people and/or situations in an effort to defend or preserve yourself.
...to be continued