I love the fall season! I love the apples we get that have come straight from the trees. Now that the apples are in, there is still much activity in the orchards. Over the years, we have made many trips through the apple and peach orchards of Michigan and have watched the men prune the trees. Some of the trees they uproot and take away to burn because they don’t produce enough fruit. The remaining trees are clipped and cut so that they will produce more fruit next year.
Much like the fruit trees, our lives go through seasons. There are seasons of growth, seasons of fruitfulness, and seasons of rest. There is also a season of pruning. That is the most unpopular but crucial season. Jesus spoke of pruning in John 15, verses 1-2. He tells us that He is the vine, His Father is the vinedresser, and we are the branches. There are two different kinds of branches mentioned. Some branches do not produce fruit. Jesus says the Father takes away those branches. Those branches have lost their contact with Jesus. They signify people who refuse to believe and give their lives to the Lord. The other type is simply those who bear fruit. It is those branches that I want to look at.
We understand that these branches are connected to the vine. That means they are receiving all the things they need to produce fruit from the vine. As believers, we receive everything we need to produce fruit from our relationship with Jesus. He is the source of every good thing in us. Jesus told us that apart from Him, we can do nothing.
Another thing we notice is that these branches produce fruit. When we go through seasons of pruning, it is because we have already made fruit. We are pruned to produce more fruit. Seasons of pruning are not because we have done something wrong. Seasons of pruning come when things need to be removed from our lives to make us more fruitful. Those things can be many different kinds of things. What may be unfruitful for me is a fruitful place for you. The Father prunes us individually. Keep in mind that we are not talking about sin. Sin is always wrong.
Our Father in heaven does the pruning. He knows us better than anyone else. He knows what will make us unfruitful and take away our productivity. Not long after I started serving the Lord, the Lord told me to take off my wristwatch. Now I am not saying watches are evil. The reason He asked for my wristwatch is that it was something that was making me unfruitful. Removing that watch made changes in my life. I could no longer use it as an excuse to isolate myself from people.
Another thing we need to keep in mind is that pruning removes dead wood. One of the characteristics that every human has is a past. Our past sins are gone because of what Jesus did. But memories, accomplishments, and ways of doing things may need to be pruned out of our lives. We all need to renew our way of thinking and doing things. Our Father has ways of showing us the need to move on and rest in past accomplishments. That is the pruning away of things that were once fruitful but no longer have the ability to produce much fruit. I am older now, and many times I remember the great things that God has done in my ministry that are good, but I cannot live there. We must allow the Father to take the way we do things and prune off what is no longer fruitful.
How does God prune us? He uses His Word. He speaks to us from His Word. His Word cuts and trims our lives in a way that doesn’t destroy us but cuts away the old ways so that we can bear more fruit. Will you allow God’s Word to prune you and make you more fruitful? I pray that you will.