“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful…I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.” John 15:1-2,5
In this verse, Jesus is talking. He is explaining His relationship to God and also His relationship to His people by using a simple illustration that we can learn from. Jesus shares that He is the main vine, and we are the branches connected to Him.
He compares God, His Father, to the gardener. The gardener has a tough job. Something is wrong with the branches that are not producing anything positive, and they are not able to gain from their only source of strength. He must figure out how to remove them so that the other branches can flourish.
These branches are of no use to the gardener, and he wants to get rid of them so that He can focus on the branches that are producing fruit. He has to carefully trim each branch away from the vine. He also has to come back and tend to the ones He leaves. He prunes these branches to help them produce even more fruit because they can only produce a certain amount by themselves.
Those verses spell it out pretty clearly. Being a follower of Christ does not mean that everything is going to be perfect and happy – it’s not a guarantee that life will be easy and always feel good. Getting “pruned” hurts – it’s not fun! However, it is necessary to produce more fruit in our lives and directly shows us how to become more like Christ. This is an important concept to understand as we grow older and are faced with tougher things in life.
God, our gardener, is not going to let us settle to just cruise through life. He is going to bend and mold us to make us prepared for what we will face. He bends and molds us to be ready for the next step. He cuts off the dead branches in our lives too, and does not waste time in areas that are not producing fruit for Him.
That shows us that we should place our time and energy into the areas of life that are truly important and accept the cards that we are dealt in life. We don’t have to like the cards, but we do need to find a way to allow God to finish the work He starts so that we can see the beautiful ending. Remember, God is not finished with you yet!
Take away: It is important to accept the growing pains of life, knowing that they are reminders of Christ’s work in us. Life is a journey, and we have to walk through the ups and downs to reach the top. God is with us. He is paying attention, and He is doing His best work by molding us.