John 15:1-7 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser…every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit…Abide in Me, and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in this vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me…”
Though Jesus doesn’t directly mention the Holy Spirit in this passage, it seems obvious to me that the only way we are able to abide in the Vine (Jesus Christ) is through the Person of the Holy Spirit. Abiding in the Vine can also be said as “fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit.” And here in John 15 Jesus invites us, through a vibrant relationship with the Holy Spirit to abide in Him.
Through Jesus’ invitation to abide in Him we also learn that the secondary byproduct of abiding is so that we bear fruit. Our primary calling as Christians is solely about Christ’s love touching our hearts and our love touching His heart, but as I have mentioned, the byproduct of abiding in Christ is that we bear fruit. It’s common for people to make the various mentions of fruit in John 15 to be almost exclusively about external fruit and impact in ministry. I personally believe it’s speaking about internal fruit (not that we have to choose internal or external fruit). When you and I are filled with the internal fruit of the Holy Spirit; the ongoing, abiding activity of God the Holy Spirit on our hearts, we will express that fruit externally in the way that we live our life. You can’t give yourself to the first commandment without also expressing the second commandment.
More than the conversation above, I want to focus on this idea of being pruned. Until recently I haven’t given much thought to the fact that Jesus says here “…every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit…” Mostly when the pruning season comes my way I am taken by surprise and feel as if I have done something wrong before God and thus I am being pruned. But Jesus said here, because I am bearing fruit, I’m being pruned, so that I would bear even more fruit. Jesus’ pruning of my life, in Him, isn’t at all because I am doing something wrong, but actually because I am doing something right. Take a moment (or more) and meditate on that reality and allow it to change the way you think.
As we abide in Christ, through the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Father comes to us, taking out His sheers and He begins cutting, shaping and pruning the various parts of the branch that are currently bearing fruit, so that they would bear even more fruit. This process, though it should be joyful because of the Man that’s doing the pruning, often isn’t. And not only is the process painful, but it’s also challenging because many of us struggle with our identity before Father God and so we assume that we are being pruned because something is wrong, not because something is right.
It will only be through the Holy Spirit that our understanding of the pruning season will make sense. It’s through Holy Spirit that we can start to receive an eternal mindset, which helps us trust the Hands that are doing the pruning. If we truly knew who God was, and the purpose of pruning, we would gladly lean into Him even as He is driving like a seasoned Farmer through the orchard of our heart, like an Edward Scissorhands, cutting and sheering branches which are already bearing fruit so that we might bear even more. Try and remember in those disruptive seasons of your life that you can’t have fruitful abiding apart from pruning.
Holy Spirit, as I am abiding in Christ, through Your power and Your presence within me, I ask that You would fill me with revelation and understanding of the Father’s activity in my life through pruning. I want my identity to be rooted and grounded in Him so that I am not surprised as He starts cutting on various areas in my life. I trust You and commit both my life and my future into Your hands today. Thank You, that You know more about my life both in this age and in the age to come than I do. I trust you.