Jesus starts out the beginning of John 15 with this statement “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 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.” In other words, whether the things in your life are producing fruit or are not producing fruit, they are going to get cut. They are either going to get cut away or they are going to be cut aside in order to produce more.
The reasons why someone would prune a plant are to remove deadwood, to shape in order to control or direct growth, or to improve or maintain health. The writer of Hebrews says it this way in the beginning of chapter 12 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Notice how the writer doesn’t just tell us to get rid of the sin in our life but also the weights that we carry around with us that hold us back from running the race at our greatest potential that God has put before us.
It’s easy to allow Jesus to cut away the deadwood in our life that isn’t producing any fruit and that is potentially harmful to our growth and development, but when Jesus starts cutting at things that we hold near and dear to ourselves we tend to give Him some resistance. It’s not that hard to allow Jesus to cut away a habit or an addiction that is slowly eating away at us, but when it comes to something that is producing fruit in our life; we just don’t want to give it up. I believe, because I’ve felt like this too, that we think that when Jesus is cutting the good away in our lives that He is punishing us. We say things like “Oh He is taking that away from me because of what I’ve done in my past” or “That got stripped from my life because I don’t deserve it because of who I am.” The truth is that Jesus is not punishing you, but He is pruning you in order that you will reach the desired potential that He created you for. He is not suffocating you, but He is shaping you into the person He desires for you to become. He is not inhibiting you, but He is improving you so that you can produce everything in your life that He has placed inside of you. Jesus is not trying to take something from you, but He is trying to produce something through you. He is not holding you back, but He is helping you move forward. He is not trying to burden you, but He is wanting to bless you.
- What does this passage teach us about God? How does it apply to you?
- Do you think that God is punishing you for something you did in your past?
- Ask God to open your eyes so that you can see that He doesn’t want something from you but that He wants something for you.