“He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.” – John 15:2-3.
In Chapter 15 of the Gospel of John, Jesus uses an agricultural example to explain how His followers are to bear spiritual fruit. First, let’s define what we mean by spiritual fruit. Ultimately, it is becoming more like Jesus and making disciples. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Bearing fruit in the Christian life is not about doing works or attempting righteousness in our own strength. Rather, it is about intentionally growing in our walk with Christ, inviting the Holy Spirit’s work of transformation in us, and actively obeying God in all He calls us to do. As we seek Him and lay down our own fleshly desires for His better ways, we will bear lasting fruit and serve as salt and light to a world in need of Jesus. (See Matthew 5:13–16)
The question is how do we bring about fruit in our lives? The short answer is we don’t. In verse 1 of John 15, Jesus explains that He is the Vine and God is the Vinedresser. Later on in the chapter, we are referred to as branches. Branches cannot bear fruit if they aren’t connected to the Vine. Jesus is saying that our spiritual fruit can only come through Him.
What is accomplished by pruning? For the plant, it’s a healthier and more vigorous growth with more fruit. For us, it’s the ability to rely more completely on God, our source of life, and the ability to live a more spiritually secure and disciplined life. With God, pruning always gives us hope. God wants His children to be fruitful. So like a good gardener, He watches over us, cares for us, and prunes our lives. The Father’s pruning involves the targeted removal of things in our lives that hinder our ability to live Christlike lives. God’s pruning is meant to improve us, not harm us. But, rather than passively waiting for God to prune our lives, we can seek to please and glorify Him by actively participating in the process. We have God’s Word to instruct us and His indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us. We can choose to partner with God in pruning our own lives.
We need to patiently endure God’s pruning so we may be made perfect, complete (James 1:3-4), and spiritually fruitful. “ For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4) Allowing God’s pruning to increase our spiritual fruitfulness brings the Father glory and demonstrates that we truly are disciples of Jesus Christ “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” (John 15:8).
- Have you ever undergone the pruning process so that you can produce more fruit? Was that process painful? Was the result worth undergoing the pruning process?