Pruning • Shears Energy
Jen Combs | Wife of Lead Pastor Josh Combs
“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.” John 15:1-2
With the convenience of the grocery store, most of us have no idea what goes into growing the fruit that we so nonchalantly throw into our cart. Jesus is talking in these verses, and He is describing some things in a way that everyone during that time would fully understand. It can be explained in such a way that we understand where He is going with this.
Picture an apple tree. I have an apple tree in my garden that is huge and has been there for many, many years. The trunk is large, and if you wanted to get to the top branches, you would need a super tall ladder. I am not sure how tall because I am lazy and I never pick higher than I can reach or that my kids can climb! Like the tree analogy, Jesus calls Himself the vine. Think of Him as the trunk of this apple tree; He is firm and steady. He is holding us up, and we cannot grow without Him. That makes us the branches of the apple tree, but we will get to that in a minute. The vinedresser in the analogy is God. You are probably thinking, “What in the world is a vinedresser?” This is someone who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines.
Every year, if I am on top of things, I look at my apple trees and assess how all of my branches look. I ask several questions. Are there too many shoots growing off of them? Are the shoots sucking the life out of one branch? Are there branches growing over each other choking each other? Are there dead branches that are dried up? If they are any of the above, I need to prune them out for the betterment of the whole tree. If I do not, I hurt the tree, it will be weak, diseased, and not grow great fruit.
Just like the verses say, He prunes and takes away so that it may bear more fruit. This is what God does to our lives. He is pruning us, cultivating us, and training us so we can be more fruitful for the Kingdom of God. Sometimes when I prune the apple tree, it looks so bear that I stand back and gasp thinking, what did I just do? But, low and behold, the next growing season it is beautiful and abundant. Did you know that God does this to us? He prunes things and people out of our lives and man it can hurt. You may feel that God has stripped you of everything; you may feel bare like my apple tree. When God wants to remove unhealthy things out of our lives, and we cling onto them, it is painful. As we hold tight, God takes His pruning shearers and snips it right out.
What are some things or people that you feel God is pruning out of your life because they are not helping you grow in your walk with Christ? What do you need to “cut” out of your life? Is it some of your music? Could it be certain movies you are watching? Maybe it is your toxic best friend that is not prodding you to love Jesus? Is it your boyfriend/girlfriend that does not really know Christ? It could even be a sibling that hinders your attempt to be clean and sober? The list could go on for miles. Trust me do not hold on to what God is trying to prune. If you truly know Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are going to want to grow in love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control for Him (Galatians 5).