“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-4
I’ve been doing a lot of gardening lately – and by that I mean, I’ve been pruning and cutting and pruning and cutting… Because I have a two year old – my gardening is often haphazard and never really complete. I often have to abandon my landscaping tasks with pulled weeds, cut branches, bush trimmings and pruned flower stems strewn all over my yard. The next day I will venture out to clean up the previous day’s trimmings and will find them browning and wilted.
In the same way, when we remain close to Christ, He will prune down the unnecessary parts of our lives. The word prune literally means to cut off things that are undesired.
It brings to mind my beautiful crabapple tree in my front yard. The blooms on this tree initially drew me to our condo and were always the signal that spring was here – new life was on its way. This year, the blooms came and fell almost immediately. The leaves that were left wilted and bore brown spots that signaled the tree was sick. I’ve had to find as many dead and infected branches as possible and cut them off. I have to gather all the fallen leaves this autumn and burn them and then treat my beloved tree in the spring with a special fungicide. This process is long and painstaking. But the tree will die without it. Similarly, without Christ cutting the undesired parts of my life away from me, I would die. Im learning that I’d much rather look back and see parts of my flesh wilting away without connection to the vine, than to remain apart of who I am and weaken my soul.