By Coulter Page, Senior Pastor, Bethany Alliance Church
A major part of my summer was tending to my garden. I spent many days out there weeding, watering and pruning. It has been so much fun to do.
By the end of the summer, I had plenty to be excited about. My family got to enjoy the fruits of my labor. That has only added to the blessing of gardening.
As I have gardened this year, one thing that I did more intentionally than past years was to prune in order to make room for more to produce. Specifically, I did this with my herbs.
After watching some videos and learning from experts, I did the delicate work of cutting off certain stems of my herb plants in order for the whole plant to flourish.
You know what happened? My herb plants grew out of control. I have basil, parsley and oregano coming out my ears. They grew massive all because I pruned off certain parts of the plants.
Jesus uses this example of pruning when talking about his Heavenly Father.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (ESV John 15:1-11)
Jesus is talking about God’s role as the gardener. He uses this analogy of the vine, branch, fruit, and vinedresser to encourage and invite us to stay connected to the one source that can truly give us life — Himself.
However, I want to invite you to see this through another lens. We are to emulate Jesus. That means, we are to be a vinedresser in our lives at times. There are times that we need to take a step back and prune things in our lives that are not bearing fruit.
My question for you is, “What needs to be pruned and cut-off in your life in order for more fruit to bear?”
Look at everything — your habits, your entertainment, your profession and your relationships. Take some time to really process what might be sapping nutrients from your life, leaving other parts lacking.
I don’t know about you, but I want my life to be defined as fruitful, so I want to be diligent about cutting off the unproductive things. Do you?
Father God. I thank you for your love and the life you offer me through Jesus. Apart from him, I can truly do nothing. At this moment, I lay all of my life in your hands. Help me discover what areas are draining and depleting me. Help me see what areas could bear more fruit by cutting off other areas. Allow me to be an individual who bears much fruit for your Kingdom. Amen!
Thanks for reading and responding this week. Would you like a family to help you as you do the hard work of pruning in your life? We at Bethany Alliance Church would love to journey with you. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 641-228-1318, or message us on Facebook @BethanyAllianceCC to connect with us.
Or better yet, join us at 10 a.m. Sundays for our time to corporately come to the Father. We would love to be a family you grow with. Hope to see you there!