I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. John 15:1-2
As I began to writing this blog post I stopped to look up word “prune”. It always helps me when my writing centers on a certain word to read afresh the definition and look at synonyms. The synonyms for the word “prune” are – clip, trim, snip, cut back, cut, reduce, and shorten.
Giving up to Gain
I remember when the Lord called me into ministry. I was “growing” along my merry little way into a fruitful vine, happy to be in Lord and then BAM! God chose me to lead the women’s ministry at my local church. After I got over the shock, I got very excited and happy the Lord would use me. For one slender moment I felt immensely full, not as in full of me, but as in full of the knowledge of the Lord’s grace and glory and exceedingly joyful in Him.
But then my heart sunk into my stomach when my head suddenly came to the Spirit-led realization that I would have to “give up to gain.” All of a sudden I felt the Gardener come inside of my spirit. I began to hear the echo of the Spirit say inside of my spirit saying, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
That was about five years ago. Now as I get ready to enter into a new season in my life I can feel the Garden getting closer. I know it’s time for a cutting a way of things that can’t go into the new season of my life. When God calls us out of one season and into the next, not all of “us” can go. Most of “us” is pruned away as we go, so that He can come forth. There I was growing into a fruitful vine like a young grape blossom finally beginning to flourish after a hard winter. But what happens when olives or apples, or grapes grow? The fruit is picked and then the branches must be cut back so that next season’s fruit can come forth. The stems are shortened and the only thing that remains is the clipped branches.
It is the Lord who fills us with His glory, and the Lord who empties, only that He may feel us again with an even greater weight of His glory. As we are pruned of fruit from the last season, we must remain in Him. We are empty yet His is still full, connected to the Root. The root produces sap; the sap runs through the veins of the vines into branches producing life and bearing fruit again and again.
Beloved, perhaps it is a time of blooming for you but if you feel that you are going through a pruning process in which God is calling you give some things up, be encouraged and know that He never asks us to give something up or takes a thing away without purpose. His purpose is that we all may grow into perfection (full maturity) in Him and continually bear fruit that will remain into eternity.