I was reading John 15 the other day and saw something I hadn’t noticed before – the word “pruned”:

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He 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. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain 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.

For years I’ve seen the part about being cut off if you don’t bear fruit and that you need to remain in the “vine”.  But I didn’t notice that even the fruit bearing branches are pruned.  Here it is in the Message:

1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
4“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

Pruning – doesn’t sound enjoyable – doesn’t sound like something I’d want to volunteer for.  In order for something to be pruned something must be removed  – cut away.  Sounds like pain may be involved – feelings of loss of what was once there.  But it is for the best – grape vines are pruned to ensure they continue to produce good fruit.  If a grape vine is not pruned it grows into a mess and produces lower quality fruit.

For me that’s kind of scary – that without God’s pruning in my life I’ll grow into a mess.  Henry David Thoreau wrote “Most men lead lives of Quiet Desparation” – that the natural course of our lives is to be out of control, to flow into the “normal”, to go with the crowd.  We can become people who just get through the day – we survive and that’s it.  But I think God wants more – he didn’t die on the cross for nothing.

So I guess I need to trust him in the pruning of my life – of the taking away what’s not good for me to produce more – to be better.  Thank you God for caring for me even when it’s unpleasant.

Categories: Bible Thoughts

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