The Pruning Process

In Hampton Court near London, there is a grapevine under glass; it is about one thousand years old and has but one root which is at least two feet thick. Some of the branches are 200 feet long. Because of skillful cutting and pruning, the vine produces several tons of grapes each … More

Pruning

The cultivation of vineyards was important in the life of Israel. In the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as a vine. However, this vine only produced wild grapes. In this passage, we find that Christ Himself is the true vine (v. 1). The Father is the one who owns the vineyard and the one who takes care of it, so when our Lord used this illustration, He was not introducing something new. As believers we will be better able to relate to the Lord when we realize that we are just branches and must confess our need for His strength (vv. 2-3). The key word is abide (v. 4). The symbolism of the vine and the branches is similar to that of the head and the body. Christians (the vine) have a living relationship to Christ (the body) and  belong to Him (vv. 5-8). He is the vine and we are the branches. The branch cannot produce its own life. It must draw the life from the vine. The bearing of fruit is made possible through communion with Christ.

The center of this abiding relationship is the love of God (vv. 9-10). This means that we must  keep in fellowship with Christ so that His life can work in and through us to produce fruit. This is accomplished through worship, meditation, prayer, and service. Good fruit requires pruning by the vine dresser. He cuts away dead wood and sometimes He even cuts away living tissue to improve the fruit. Many Christians pray that God will make them more fruitful, but they do not enjoy the pruning that this requires. Sometimes He simply uses the Word to convict and cleanse us. Other times He must chasten us. Yes, pruning hurts, but it also helps. The vine dresser prunes the branches by cutting away the dead wood. The “pruners” know where to cut, how much to cut, and even at what angle to make the cut but as the “spiritual crop” is produced we can see that He knows what He is doing. We may not enjoy it, but we need it.

Application

The greatest judgment God can bring to me is to leave me alone and let me have my own way. Because God loves me He prunes me and encourages me to bear more fruit for His glory.

John 15:1-11 (English Standard Version)

"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. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."

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