It might seem counter-intuitive, but to bear more fruit we need to have our lives cut back. One might think that the larger the tree and the longer the branches, the more the fruit that can be produced. As we learned in Earth Sciences in school, the truth is just the opposite for most plants, shrubs, and trees. Jesus compared this truth to another truth regarding the fruitfulness of our lives:
“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.”
~ John 15:1-4
None of us enjoy being pruned, having extensions of our lives [that at one time were fruitful to some degree] cut away, leaving a void and making us feel smaller than ever. Being fruitful in a ministry is very satisfying on a personal level, even when we appropriately recognize that it’s God’s ministry and it’s not about us. But as our fruitfulness is for God, and He has our best interest and His glory at heart, we would be wise to recognize when God’s pruning seasons arrive.
He prunes us, not as a punishment, but as an investment in our lives and as an act of trust: He trusts that we will bear even more fruit and even better fruit than ever before. When God’s pruning shears enter our lives (and they might appear to us as many different things) we would do well to quite our souls and listen for the whisper of God in prayer as He handles us with great care. He is already looking forward to our life’s next harvest season for bountiful fruit!
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