“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
If a person bears fruit, God prunes him for the purpose of increasing his yield. To me being able to keep my salvation but being tossed aside because I was unproductive in the Kingdom would be almost as bad as losing one’s salvation if that is possible.
I want to work with the Lord! I don’t want to be set aside. I want to experience all He has for me. I want nothing to go to waste. I want to rule and reign with Him.
The word “prunes” means “cleanses”. There is something about pruning back a good branch that cleanses away things that keep it from being even more productive. A vine is always ready to rip and run in the growth of wood; it likes to grow and when we are moving along we don’t want to be taken back.....pruned back.
Have you ever experienced that frustrating dance? That happens when you are forced to step back and it happens when you seem to be ready to step forward. It “feels” wrong but the Father knows best.
When Laurie and I and our family were in Houston and so much was happening ministry-wise for us we figured it would increase but then the Father took us to north Texas where, at first, a whole lot of nothing was happening for us.
We were pruned. Then I worked for a local hospice and I thought, “Its good money and good work and I get to use my gifts. I’ll probably do this forever.”
Then, He cut me back…pruning me. Each time it happened our productivity skyrocketed.
As I write this I am experiencing a flurry of growth in my counseling clientele. It’s really busy. I believe that in a short while He will cut that counseling load back and aim us more in an equipping way that empowers others to use similar gifts. He’s about to prune again. If we cooperate we can anticipate an explosion in yield with better fruit and more fruit. In my estimation, that equates to better lives and more real life in them.
What about you? Have you been productive? If so, how will He prune you? Will you resent it? How will it look when He does? It’s often a re-direct. Sometimes it’s a life change. Sometimes it has to do with a job change. However it looks, it is always about releasing power to produce, and it’s not about the production. It’s about identity.
See how Jesus starts this part of the Word: (John15:1) “I am”.
What is He? He says He is the “true vine”. This is an identity statement. What does Someone with that identity do? That Person supplies character, water, nutrients, support and so on to the rest of the vine.
Then in John 15:1 Jesus says, “My Father is”.
What is The Father? He is “the vinedresser”. What does Someone with that identity do? He cares for, grows, prunes and trains the branches.
We are the branches and what do branches do? Branches drink from the vine, receive care from the vinedresser and produce fruit.
If your life has taken a sudden change in direction, please perk up and seek the Lord on that. This just might be God pruning you, preparing you for what’s next, and getting you ready for a burst of productivity.
While we often see drastic changes as failures and/or grievous events….they often turn out to be God’s wonderful plans for our lives…for what He intends to be next for us. When we look back later, we can see how lovingly and purposefully He has laid out the stepping stones from where we were to where He has taken us.
May we all learn to see things from God’s perspective.
“…what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural (lost) man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual (born again) judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-16)
May we walk in the mind (viewpoint) of Christ!
(Based on an excerpt from my book, “The Gospel of John – As Seen Through The Eyes of a Relative Nobody”)