John 15:2 – 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 more fruitful. (NIV)
Pruning has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I get so excited over doing things for Christ that I spread my fruits too thin, thereby producing poor quality fruit. It is so hard to say "No" when the church asks me to take on a job, or an organization in the community needs help with a worthy cause.
The peach farmers in my area have taught me a lot about growing good fruit. My observation of their techniques shows that first they prune the top of the tree to give it shape. This allows the sun, necessary for the peaches to ripen, to reach it. Next, they remove weak or non-productive branches. As the peaches grow, the amount of fruit each branch can support is left, and all others are removed. The final product is a beautiful Georgia peach in which we all take pride.
In order to shape us in the image of Christ, God needs to prune us. The obstacles that will impede us on our Christian journey need to be regulated until our lives reflect only our best efforts.
John 15:4 – Remain in me, and I will 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. (NIV)
This pruning in our lives is painful, but it shapes us, forms us, cleanses us, and makes the fruit that we bear a testimony to the Christ Who dwells in us.
Prayer: Lord, remove every branch in us that stands in the way of our serving You or bearing fruit that will be a witness to You. In our modern world, there are many requests for our fruit, and that which we produce is not first class. Prune and shape us in Your image, and use us to show forth Your kingdom on earth. Into Your hands we commit our lives; prune us until we reflect Your image. Amen.