If you have children, would you do what is absolutely best for them to ensure they become as fruitful and productive in life as possible? Most of us as parents would say yes, even though we may fall short of this outcome. Do you know that our Heavenly Father is committed to doing what it takes for us to bear as much fruit as possible. In the book of John, Jesus calls himself the vine and says that we are his branches (John 15). This means that Jesus is the very source of our life as Christians. As His life flows into us, we should bear fruit that brings honor to God. The Lord is looking for and desiring this fruit from his people. This fruit involves godly character, actions, and activities that make a difference for God and his glory.
Scripture reveals that our Heavenly Father will discipline his children who do not bear any fruit. The Father is just not going to let us keep going in the wrong direction without seeking to get our attention. God loves us enough to correct us and hopefully bring us back into a place of obedience and fruitfulness again.
Jesus also promises to prune his disciples that are bearing fruit: “Every branch that bears fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). Jesus is talking about his Father’s strategy for coaxing greater fruit from the lives of believers. The word prune means to cut back or thin out. If you are a Christian whose life is bearing fruit, there are times where God will intervene to prune you so you might bring about more fruit.
A grapevine’s tendency is always for more growth. They can grow so vigorously that they need to be cut back every year. If they are not cut back, they will become so dense that it will hinder the fruit itself. With all of the growth, it will look luscious but the growth will be underwhelming. The vinedresser cuts away any unnecessary shoots so the branches will be the most productive. Pruning is one of the single most important techniques to ensure a good harvest of fruit.
God does the same thing for us. There are seasons when He prunes and cuts us back in order to bring about greater growth. There are times when we can be doing a lot of good things and right things, but God wants to continue to bring us into greater growth. It may mean that God prunes us in some areas in order to allow us to become more even more fruitful for the long term.
As God prunes us, He asks us to let go of things that keep you from being more focused and productive. God prunes us to teach us, shape us and mold us. As He prunes us, we grow in our faith and become more committed to God’s kingdom purposes. Ultimately we become more humble and more effective.
Pruning involves cutting, and cutting hurts. It is not always fun. It may sound like discipline, but it is not. God’s discipline is a rebuke from God in love to get our attention and bring us to repentance. Pruning is an act of God’s love to shape our character and bring us into even greater fruitfulness.
One of the greatest tools for growth in our lives as Christians is adversity. God can use the hard times to make us and mold us. If you are Christian that has really grown, then you have been pruned. The greatest Christians with the greatest growth are those who have walked through tough times and held onto God. They trusted and believed him and when they came through, an amazing transformation had taken place in their lives.
God longs for fruit in your life. Will you trust Him in all circumstances? If so, He will bring you forth with great fruit in your life. And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at david@weare community.church or 912-634-2960.