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 even more fruitful.”
A huge part of my Christian journey has involved undergoing uncomfortable and sometimes painful things like the pruning. The definition of prune means to “cut away or remove.” When most people hear the word prune in a spiritual sense, they cringe and become frightened of what God may take away. Pruning or cutting something away can seem intimidating, especially when you don’t understand what it means.
Pruning is just as necessary for our spiritual lives as much as it is for the grapevines. Sometimes, the vines grow so thick the leaves cover the majority of the plant, and it’s unable to get the proper sunlight it needs. The gardener cuts those branches off because they overshadow the other branches. He also cuts off the branches that are barren and not producing fruit. By pruning, the gardener is guaranteed a high number of fruitful crops and good quality grapes. Gardeners know that pruning isn’t life threatening. It is needed if you desire to increase fruitfulness and growth.
When I became aware of the benefits of spiritual pruning, it became a constant prayer request, and when answered, He brings me closer and closer to the woman of God He’s creating me to be.
God, the gardener of our hearts, will search us and find anything within us that has kept us from remaining in Him or bearing fruit. Bitterness, resentment, addiction, idolatry, or stubbornness are all things God prunes in us. The manifestation of these qualities could look different from person to person, and the cleansing is an essential part of becoming more like Christ. If there is anything or anyone preventing you from growing spiritually, God will pursue your health and prune unhealthy areas.
Jesus tells us clearly what consequences we will encounter when we do not abide in Him. We will be cut off from the Vine and thrown into the fire. I am unsure if the fire refers to hell or purgatory, but I do know it is a place far from God. It is a place we do not want to be, nor does Jesus desire us to remain there. We cannot bear fruit or live a spirit-filled life outside of the arms of God. The pruning helps us bear fruit, much fruit. It isn’t the best feeling in the world, and you may grieve certain things the Lord removes. Remember, He knows what’s best for us. Jesus loves you too much to allow you to remain stagnant.
Father God, prune me and remove anything that does not align itself with Your will, word, or way. Thank you for loving us so much that you remove anything within us that does not bear fruit. Give us patience in this process and help us to persevere through the discomfort; knowing that pruning leads us toward our purpose. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Written by: Ashley K. Stovall