“I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:1-2, 8 (ESV)
My husband and I recently returned from a trip to California. We spent some of our time in the Napa and Sonoma valleys. There were grapevines as far as the eye could see. It was truly stunning!
On one of our winery tours, we learned that grapevines require much care to produce a healthy crop. While the right type of soil and climate are essential, pruning is just as vital. Pruning must be done at the proper time, and knowing how much to prune is also critical. Too light of pruning will not produce adequate fruit whereas heavy pruning provides the greatest quality of grapes. Cutting off as much of the old wood as possible will encourage the growth of new wood, where the fruit is produced. But, it must be done in stages, not all at once. The vines also require protection from harsh elements. The vinedresser must know his job well if he desires to have fruit-bearing vines and a healthy crop!
What a beautiful picture Jesus paints for us using this example in John 15. He shares with His disciples (and us) that He is the vine, the good healthy growing vine, and God the Father is the vinedresser. We are the branches that grow from the life-giving vine. God “cuts off” those branches that bear no fruit, that are dead (spiritually), and He prunes those of us who reside in the True Vine. He is the only one who knows how much or how little we need to be pruned, and when is the right timing. He also prunes us in stages, throughout our whole life, not all at once. His desire, like a grape vinedresser, is that we bear much healthy fruit. In this way, we bring Him glory.
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit.” (Luke 6:43 ESV)
What a gracious heavenly Father to not leave it up to us! He does the work in us that will produce the choicest fruit. He also protects us from the harsh evils of the world by always providing a way out when we are tempted to bear bad fruit, so that our branch may stand firm. (1Corinthians 10:13)
Pruning may sting a bit in the moment, but it is for great benefit. Are you able to endure the sting to see the glory?