“every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2
Pruning is the most crucial thing that happens in a vineyard. Healthy grapes cannot grow without it. In fact, a lack of sufficient pruning can cause a vineyard to fail completely. The pruning process is no less important in the life of a believer. But when we forget the purpose of pruning, we’re more likely to resist it, or even get resentful about it. So why does God prune believers?
Pruning has a practical purpose in a vineyard. It creates a healthy root system, improves the health of the vine, and increases the harvest. So the gardener spends months scraping branches with a knife to remove loose flakes of bark and parasites. Dead wood has to be removed, and live wood is cut back drastically.
A gardener doesn’t prune indiscriminately, and neither does the Father. He only removes what is necessary to increase our fruitfulness. Why is bearing more and more fruit so important? Because it’s how we express the life of Christ in and through our own lives. The purpose of pruning is to make us more like Jesus.
Of course, the pruning process isn’t pleasant. It can even be painful. While God’s pruning may momentarily hurt, it’s never designed to harm. He uses our failures, relationships, illnesses, and trials to reset our focus on Him rather than on our own pursuits.
God may even cut good things away from our lives—things that are difficult to lose. Keep in mind, not everything that looks good is God’s will for us at that moment. Sometimes, the good we hang on to keeps us from the great God has planned. And we may have to stop one thing in order for God to start a new thing.
Are you going through a difficult time? Then examine what’s happening. Is it pruning? Is the Father cutting away something harmful or useless? Or, is God helping you get out of your own way in order to start something new? Remember, the purpose of pruning is not to hurt you but to help you be more fruitful—to be more like His Son. So rather than resist it, embrace the results. God knows what He’s doing. Will you trust Him?