Have you ever read or heard a specific Scripture many times before, but then one day something entirely new jumped out you – from that very same Scripture? I read something in my quiet time this week that stopped me in my tracks. It was about becoming more fruitful and I want to share it with you. Hopefully, you will see it to be as meaningful as I did.
Fruit At Work
The book I was reading is called Fruit at Work, by Chris Evans. The Scripture that he referred to was John 15:1-8. In this passage, Jesus is talking about how He is the vine and we are the branches. He produces the fruit and we bear it. Without Him, we cannot produce any fruit of our own.
In the past, I have read and listened to Bruce Wilkinson’s Secrets of the Vine. This book has a great explanation of this same passage about the vine and branches. I was significantly impacted by Wilkinson’s book and wanted to be more fruitful.
Becoming More Fruitful
In going through this book, I learned in depth about how important pruning is to the production of fruit. Though painful, pruning makes the branch more fruitful. I could easily identify times of pruning in my own life.
In Fruit at Work, there is a similar quote from Evans on this same idea:
Even a well cultivated tree will only produce sparing fruit if left on its own. The way a gardner coaxes the most fruit out of a plant is by pruning. Pruning is a process of cutting back part of the plant, sometimes severely, to allow the plant to focus its nutrients in fewer places. Our master gardner does the same thing.
A New Perspective
I have read this John 15 passage literally hundreds of times, before and since. I have often thought about the process of pruning and becoming more fruitful. But what I do not know that I have ever recognized from a different perspective was one verse in particular. In verse 2, Jesus says the following…
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.
What I do not remember from Wilkinson’s book is the following idea from Chris Evans. If this idea is in Wilkinson’s book, then I apologize. Evidently I was not ready to hear it then! Take a look at the quote from Evans:
As you bear fruit in your life, be aware that the areas where you are bearing fruit are subject to pruning. This may mean that a job you start to do well is replaced with another job that will challenge you to produce more fruit.
While this is uncomfortable, God knows what he is doing. You should see this pruning as encouragement that God is caring for you and is taking an active role in your growth.
More Specific Pruning
My understanding of the pruning process before did not get very specific. I just understood that I was going to undergo pruning to become more fruitful. As a branch in Jesus, I wanted to bear more fruit and knew that pruning would be a part of that process.
What I had never considered before was that God would prune in particular areas of my life, setting those areas up for a greater multiplication of fruit in the future!
Does that make sense to you?
While this is not a “salvation” epiphany, I do see it as having huge implications in two ways!
First, if there is an area in which you are bearing fruit, God is more likely to prune in that area so that you can be even more fruitful. This means you will certainly encounter difficulty and disappointment (symptoms of pruning) in your passion areas – like your Christian business! Expect it. Embrace it. Endure it.
Second, when you DO experience this pruning, take it as a sign that God is indeed caring for you and “taking an active role in your growth.” That should be extremely encouraging! Do not let the enemy whisper lies in your ear about failure. Thank God that He is working in you!
Have you experienced pruning in specific, fruitful areas of your life?
Have you recognized this process as being designed to make you even more fruitful?
Do you draw encouragement from this idea?