Pruning The Fruitful Branch

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.

fruitful

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!

Implications

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?

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  • Love this imagery: cut-off or pruned? There is pain in either, but one option remains under the care of the master to become more fruitful, the other separated and eventually burned. “Scars” in our life reveal God’s love for us – pruning will always leave scars. Same is true of Christian organizations and corporations. Thanks Chris!

  • What stood out to me in this scripture after reading your post is the idea of simplification. We are pruned in some areas in order to simplify our lives, so that we can focus on other areas and get them to produce fruit. When we have too many areas that we focus on, no one area produces as well as it could. Pruning some of them off allows us to simplify and become excellent in the areas that are truly important for us.

    • I like the idea of simplification…even if I fight it. I often think I was born in the wrong time period. I think I would have been happier in simpler times. Of course, I know that is not actually true – just another thought of “if only…” that distracts me from contentment!

      • I do the same thing, have “what ifs” distract me all too often. Takes a deliberate effort at times to realize that “for such a time as this” is as true for me as it was for Esther.

  • Your original question: Have you ever read or read a specific scripture …? And, yes, that happened in Sunday School this past week–the passage about the servant put in charge of the household while the master is on a journey. Any ah-ha moment is worth noting since they don’t come often. I’m still mulling over the implications.

    As for pruning, I think of our tomato plants and cutting off the “suckers.” They are parts of the plant that simply use up resources but really don’t add anything to tomato production. The interesting thing is, as the gardener, I know it takes time to pluck those little suckers. Is an extra tomato or four that important?

    God must think so!

    Wow! Another ah-ha moment.

    • Not to get all holier-than-thou on you, but…the additional four tomatoes hold within them an additional 60-200 seeds (I Googled it!). Each of those seeds hold the potential for new tomato plants. Each of those plants hold within them…

      I think you get the picture.

      Yes, I think God sees the potential in just one additional tomato!

      • You Googled tomato seeds?

        I’ll share your thoughts with a friend who’s going through some serious pruning. We’re scheduled for lunch today–timely.

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