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

Viniculture was important to the Jewish way of life. When our Lord used this illustration, He was not introducing something new. In the Old Testament, Israel is called a vine, but it’s a vine that only produced wild grapes. Christ, by contrast, is the true vine (v. 1). The Father is the owner of the vineyard, the one who takes care of it. 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). Christians (the branches) have a living relationship to Christ (the vine) 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. 

 

Joy, the second fruit of the Spirit, is the result of abiding in Jesus (v. 11). The pruning is painful but the result is greater Joy and greater abiding. 

 

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)


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