John 15:1-2: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
It is evident in this verse that both the Son and the Father share an active role in providing the daily nourishment needed to abide. The Son is our connection or conduit to the Father, providing the means for life-giving nourishment to flow. As we receive this nourishment from Christ, we produce fruit. However, if a branch doesn’t produce fruit, it is the Father, the vinedresser, that will initiate some pruning.
Having an agricultural background, I learned early on the value of pruning. Without pruning, a tree will grow somewhat wild with branches stretching out in unsymmetrical directions, sometimes resulting in a lessor fruit yield. However, with pruning, a tree is not only shaped and crafted in beauty, but the potential for producing a greater fruit yield is heightened.
John Piper puts it this way. “Now pruning means cut. The branches are being cared for (to make them maximally fruitful) both by internal life flowing to us from the vine and by a vinedresser, who with his very painful scissors or saw cuts us and hurts us, so that by these painful providences in life we experience the fullest possible impact of the inner life of Christ.”
We are being cared for both internally by Christ’s life coursing into us by the Spirit, and externally by the providences of a loving Father who knows how to discipline his children to make them very, very holy.”
Have you experienced some pruning this past year? How did that make you feel? What has been the result of this pruning?
If we fully grasp the implications of this Scripture text, could it mean that we should welcome pruning, as hard and painful as it may be? How could this understanding change our perspective on how God is dealing with sin in our lives? Can it initiate within us other forms of pain and suffering for his glory?
If you are currently encountering a form of pain and suffering, consider a different type of prayer today. Instead of seeking for God to remove this from your life, join your heart with the Father’s. Ask if God has some life lessons that will further mold and shape you into a fruit-producing, instrument of his workmanship. Pray that God would use this pruning to expand your reach with the gospel, that through these experiences you might further magnify Christ.