John 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
There is not a better description of the Christian life than in John 15. Jesus uses the metaphor of the vine and its branches to illustrate the relationship he has with his followers. Branches cannot grow without being connected to the Vine, just as believers cannot grow without being connected to Christ. The natural outcome of the branch being connected to the Vine is bearing fruit. If there is no fruit, the branch is not connected with the vine and will eventually fall off. Whereas, if the branch is fruitful, it is pruned back to be even more fruitful.
The branch needs to be pruned because with its current branches it cannot bear anymore fruit due to its weight. Without pruning the fruit bearing capacity is limited to the one branch, and eventually that branch will droop and eventually break. But, as it is pruned, new branches can come forth to bear even more fruit than before.
What might this mean for us? First, we cannot bear fruit on our own. Without being connected to Christ, we cannot do anything that has eternal value. It is humbling to think that we can do nothing apart from Christ. We'd like to think that we can create our own fruit, and it is often not until we fall flat on our face that we realize we are totally disconnected from Christ. Though pruning is not always pleasant, after all who likes being cut, it leads to more productivity. Sometimes our lives get so full of so many different things that we can become vulnerable. We might have to cut back activities in our lives in order to be more fruitful.
Where does God need to prune in your life in order to be more fruitful? Are you connected to the Vine, or out on a limb trying to do things on your own? How would you know? Is there fruit being produced in your life that will last, or is it only temporary?
Stay in the Vine! Remain in Jesus and He will remain in You!