John 15:2 (NKJV)
2 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.
A friend spoke about a rather interesting observation he had about vines. He said that he had visited Israel and they noticed the vinedresser tending a vine in very poor condition. The vine was not producing fruit, was covered in dirt and grime, and it was pointing toward the ground. All in all this vine was looking like it was in pretty harsh shape, almost dead. The vinedresser explained that as they remove the dirt and grime and face it toward the sun, and water it, the vine would come right back to life. Isn’t that the way our life can be sometimes?
My Life Is Not Producing Fruit
Let’s face it, sometimes we can get to the place where life is the same day in and day out. We can be a lot like that old vine, covered in the dirt and grime of the world. It happens slowly, almost unnoticeable until you wake up one morning and realize the state you are in. Take heart, this is not the place the Lord wants you. He wants you to be lively, to be producing fruit, to be advancing His kingdom.
Galatians 6:8–9 reminds us… (8) For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (9) And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart… If our life is not producing fruit, we must examine what it is we are sowing.
Is He Pruning You?
Sometimes the vinedresser must remove certain parts of the vine to produce more fruit. The Lord has to do the same thing with us. Unfortunately, sometimes this hurts… a lot! If we trust the Lord with our life, we should be able to see what He is doing and be thankful for it. But, the flesh is so weak and our desires can be so strong.
I remember being a new Christian, I was quickly put into a position where the Lord pruned alcohol out of my life. Oh, the flesh so desired to continue. But, in order for me to reach the children in the school I was teaching at, that part of my life simply had to go. In the end, I grew greatly because of the absence of alcohol. Sometimes, however, it is not as simple. Do you have friends that are bringing you down spiritually? Maybe the Lord is trying to prune there. Maybe it is a job you have had for many years, you feel the Lord calling you elsewhere, but you hold on anyway. A tough one is when you hold a position in ministry. I was so blessed by one of my first roles in ministry teaching at the local jail. I held on for quite sometime before moving on. After letting go, the Lord blessed me with all kinds of ministry opportunities. I am not saying leave your friends in the dust, leave your job because you don’t love it, or give up ministry, I am simply saying, beware when the Lord may be doing His pruning and be thankful for it.
We must be willing to allow the Lord to prune sometimes to experience the fruit He already knows we can produce.
Galatians 5:22–23 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.