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.
John 15:1-2 NIV
Ouch! Every time I read that Scripture I am reminded that because I am his child through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God is always pruning me.
If you have ever planted tomatoes, you know that as little shoots spring up on the lower trunk of the plant, you have to pinch them off. Otherwise, all the plant’s energy that should be feeding the flowers goes into growing those useless shoots. The flowers are fewer which means less fruit.
Sometimes a tomato plant may be tall and beautiful; lush and green. You may hesitate to cut off any of its branches for fear that it will look raggedy and awkward. But as you nourish it with plant food, water it carefully and watch, it blooms profusely. After a few weeks that raggedy plant may bear so much fruit that you must stake it up to keep it from bending to the ground and breaking.
Life in Christ is like a tomato plant. God is the gardener who cares for us, doing what it takes to help us become healthy and strong. Christ is the stalk (John 15:5-8) providing nourishment and strength, and we are those branches; hopefully bearing much fruit.
If we are not producing fruit for the Father—snap. Our Heavenly Father will prune the useless branch. He wants to redirect our wasted energy to an area that will bear fruit. If we are producing fruit—snap. He prunes us back in order that we might produce even more fruit.
God is the perfect gardener. He knows pruning is momentarily painful. But He will nourish us with his love and water us with His Word in order that, like that carefully tended tomato plant, we might bear much fruit in Him.
So, if you happen to be in the midst of pruning season, take comfort in knowing that when the Father is finished pruning you will be a beautiful and fruitful branch.