The Training Ground Series – Small battles now prepare us for bigger battles later.
Are You Willing to Fight? – Fighting now produces perseverance later.
Warriors Train with Weapons of Praise – Sing His praises and declare thanks for what He is doing now and how He is preparing what’s to come.
“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. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 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. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
God is the Gardener.
Jesus is the Vine.
We are the Branches.
As Branches connected to the Vine we bear Fruit.
Verse 2 is what sticks out to me most. In this verse Jesus states that God cuts off every branch within Jesus that bears no fruit. While every other branch within Jesus that does bear fruit, God prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
At this point in time Judas has already run off to betray Jesus, and Jesus has told His remaining disciples about His upcoming death. He is leaving them soon physically, but He is comforting them because when they remain in Him, they will always have Him. They cannot bear fruit for the Kingdom apart from Jesus, and must remain in Him in order to bring God’s glory, even after He is gone.
The reason Verse 2 sticks out to me is because it makes me wonder what branches He is cutting out in my own life that don’t bear fruit, in order to prune the branches that will bear fruit.
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.
The first part of this verse makes sense to me. God cuts away dead parts of our life that aren’t fruitful or helpful to us, or aren’t for His glory.
But I never fully understood the second part. I thought since the first part was the painful one, the second pruning part would be softer. That He wants to gently smooth out and perfect the other branches that are bearing fruit.
Then I looked up the word “prune” and realized, it’s actually no different.
- To cut away
- To separate from
- To reduce the extent of something by removing unwanted parts
- Cutting away dead or unwanted
- Especially to increase fruitfulness and growth
The entirety of Verse 2 is actually about the painful process of growth. Growth is a beautiful thing. However, growth is never easy.
Let’s break this down a little.
Jesus says that God:
- Cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit
That makes sense. The Lord doesn’t want us to be consumed or overrun by bad branches in our life that aren’t producing fruit and His glory, so He cuts them off and out of our life.
Sometimes these bad branches are wrapped in beautiful characteristics. Yet they are not what the Lord has planned for us, and thus, He takes them away. It is extremely painful because they appear to be good gifts, and we question “Why can’t I have that one God?”
But He takes it away because whether we want to acknowledge it or not, it is not bearing the kind of glorious fruit in our life that it should, and that something far better, could. That “something else” might not exist in our life yet, but God knows what it is and when He will give it to us. God knows the timing of when it will produce amazing fruit through us once He gives it, but it is not the right time now.
He needs to do some pruning first.
Jesus says that God:
- Prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be even more fruitful.
This is the part I find so intriguing and have come to love. As I said before, I always assumed since the first part was painful, the second part of this verse would be gentle and loving. And it is… but that doesn’t mean it’s not painful.
Before giving us the good gifts He has promised, He first needs to prune us of ourselves, so that we can produce even more fruit. He also needs to perfect the gift He will give so that it is ready for us.
God works in His pruning to prepare us, and to prepare the gift, so that we are ready for each other when His timing comes.
- Remain in me, as I also remain in you.
No time in the Lord is wasted.
As we are in our Training Grounds, we are preparing for what’s to come. Some paths are easy, some seasons are hard. But no time is wasted. Because God is always at work.
He is always at work behind the curtain where your gift lies in wait, being pruned and perfected so that it’s the best version of itself when given to you by the Lord. He is always at work within you whether you feel it or not because He is preparing you and training you for what’s yet to come.
Be encouraged in His promises over your life as you remain in Him. If there are setbacks and hold ups, ask yourself why.
Were you trying to take control and force God’s timing? Was it something unpredictable outside of your control? Is it the devil? Is it the Lord testing you? Is it the Lord cutting off a bad branch? Or is it the Lord pruning a fruitful one?
Allow the pruning – The hard times are part of the pruning. Allow Him to cut off branches that do not bear His fruit, and perfect those that do so they will be even more fruitful.