“I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1). These words of Jesus are well-known to those who love and follow Him as our Lord. This “abide in Christ” passage ends with, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” These 3 things – glorifying the Father, bearing much fruit, and proving to be Christ’s disciples give us no greater joy when they are fulfilled in our lives. As so many other things in the Christian faith, the pathway to these also gives us great joy and satisfaction along the way; abiding in Christ.
To be invited into Christ’s life with all of the glories of His deity makes the carnal life seem squalid. He urges us to abide, not with Him, but in Him. We are to partake of His love for the Father and communion with the Spirit. We are to pursue His interests. We can have His heart for others and a passion for His glory. All this, if we lay aside the life of the world and pursue abiding in Christ. Does your contemplation of God’s Word and glory lend itself to a constant abiding in Christ?
Equally wonderful is the part that the Father plays in verse 2b – …every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. To attain to our goal of glorifying the Father, bearing much fruit, and proving to be Christ’s disciples, rigorous pruning must also be undertaken. What does the Father lovingly prune from our lives? The distractions that keep us from abiding in Him. The sins that keep us from a deeper fellowship with Him.
I have never enjoyed pruning trees or thinning fruit. It feels ugly and destructive. There is always a risk that the pruning site will become diseased and bring death to the plant. It seems counterintuitive to the mission of bearing fruit – and it takes a true master gardener to know that taking away branches will improve the yield of the plant if done correctly. I find it difficult to have that level of faith in the process so as to aggressively prune my plants.
But God is the great master pruner of our lives. He gives us difficulties and trials to prune away distractions and sins from our lives so as to grow us deeper in Him. He sees the end from the beginning – the end being us in conformity to Christ-likeness and bearing much fruit.
What pruning is God doing in your life? Do you view your difficulties as blessings from the Lord to help you abide in Christ and bear much fruit? Or do you rather become defensive and embittered at the trial and take disease into your soul? Worship God for His masterful pruning in your life, and abide in Christ for then will you bear much fruit.
One thought on “Vine and Branches”
Dear Jon and Katherine, What a blessing you are to us! Yes, we need to be pruned often and fully. We don’t always appreciate it at the time, but God always shows it is for our good and His Glory. He is the Master and in charge. This life gets scary sometimes, but we need to always remember that He is still in charge and He brings all things to fruition in His timing, not ours. We keep your ministry and you and your family in prayer daily, and we know that God is going to do a wondrous work through you.