Jn.15:3 – every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
This is the verse I want to skip over. I don’t like that word, prunes. As a matter of fact I didn’t like that season when I lived among the vineyards in Central California. The grape fields had been so green and beautiful all summer. Harvest time brought the fruit bearing and rejoicing in the harvest. But then things got ugly quick, the vinedressers would come with their pruning knives and cut away all of the beautiful green growth. All you could see for miles was the brown left over stubs; everything green had been cut off. The lesson in this verse is actually filled with promise. This is the key to more fruit. The pruning focuses the life of the vine back to the fruit. Next season there will be more fruit, pruning is an essential part of the process. Here is how Murray describes the pruning.
“What a solemn, precious lesson! It is not to sin only that the cleansing of the Husbandman here refers. It is to our own religious activity, as it is developed in the very act of bearing fruit. It is this that must be cut down and cleansed away. We have, in working for God, to use our natural gifts of wisdom, or eloquence, or influence, or zeal. And yet they are ever in danger of being unduly developed, and then trusted in. And so, after each season of work, God has to bring us to the end of ourselves, to the consciousness of the helplessness and the danger of all that is of man, to feel that we are nothing. All that is to be left of us is just enough to receive the power of the life-giving sap of the Holy Spirit. What is of man must be reduced to its very lowest measure. All that is inconsistent with the most entire devotion to Christ’s service must be removed.”
When we abide in Christ we will remain open to this pruning process. The Lord wants to remove from us all of our dependence on our own abilities and plans. We have to allow Him to strip away our trust in ourselves and look to Him. How does He prune us? He prunes us with His word. This cleansing by His word prepares us for new growth and harvest. Remember why the pruning comes, He wants to have a greater harvest.