A couple of years ago our family was taking a road trip from Sacramento to Anaheim California. On the way down we passed vineyard after vineyard.
After about the third one, I thought, “the vineyards look ready to bear fruit”.
Why? Because they had been pruned back, braced up and almost stripped bare.
That is what Jesus said happens in the life of a believer. Not just once but over and over.
When God wants to grow you, He will prune you.
I’ve seen vineyards in all the seasons:
- Full and heavy with fruit in the summer.
- Rioting wild with leaves after the harvest in the fall.
- Barren and unkempt in the winter.
- Pruned back, braced up and almost stripped bare in the spring.
The most fruitful vines are those that are cared for and pruned back.
You may not equate being cared for with being pruned back but the best Vine Dressers do.
They lovingly get the vineyard ready to bear fruit by cutting all the dead branches off. They sweep up and clear up the dead leaves that have fallen to the ground. They strip down the main vine to its essence.
They have braced up each one with wood or wire so that it will not break under the weight of its fruit later in the season.
Jesus called himself the vine, you the branch and the Father the vine dresser:
“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
If you feel like God is pruning you, it is because He is preparing you.
He is getting you ready to bear more fruit.
He is caring for you and nurturing you.
He is cutting off dead things that will rot and bring disease to your soul.
He is simplifying your focus and prompting you to define more clearly who you are in Christ.
He is pruning you, even cutting off some good branches that are stealing nutrients from the main one He wants to grow.
Your Heavenly Father loves you just the way you are and loves you so much that He won’t leave you that way.
He wants to see you grow into your full potential and knows that dead things must be cut off and good things that distract must go as well.
Don’t panic because you’re being pruned, stripped bare and braced up. Recognize it for what it is- God preparing you for the next season of your life.
It’s going to be good, my friend, so hold on and trust God!