“Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.’”
We can get a good idea of what pruning is about by comparing the agricultural purpose of pruning to scriptural principles. Together, they shed a lot of light (pun intended) on what Jesus is getting at here.
The primary reason for pruning is to make sure that a vine’s fruit bearing branches get enough light. That is essential because grapes only bear fruit on new growth and, left to themselves, preexisting growth will block the sunlight the fruit bearing branches need. That’s a problem “because shaded leaves only function at about 6% of their capacity, and may not be contributing at all to ripening the grape cluster.” Pruning Grapes in the Home Garden: Some Basic Guidelines (Washington St. Univ. Ext.) So fundamentally, pruning is about giving fruit bearing branches access to the outside energy—light—God provides to do the job He assigned them.
Believers likewise need light beyond ourselves to accomplish what God wants from us.
That makes sense when we consider that everyone of us lacks, on our own, what we need to produce all that God wants from us. See We All Need Pruned.
So where do we get that light? Scripture is abundantly clear—from God. He is, after all, the creator of light. Genesis 1:3Isaiah 45:7Wisdom 18:3Acts 9:1-5 Acts 26:12-15Revelation 1:13-16John 8:12John 9:25John 12:46Psalm 119:05, Psalm 119:130, Proverbs 6:23Psalm 18:28Psalm 27:1Psalm 97:11Psalm 112:4Isaiah 9:1-2Luke 1:78-79Luke 2:32John 3:19-21John 12:35-362 Corinthians 4:4-6Colossians 1:12-141 Thessalonians 5:4-5
2 Samuel 23:3-4, Proverbs 4:18Isaiah 49:6Daniel 12:3Matthew 5:14-16Matthew 13:43Acts 13:472 Corinthians 4:5-6Romans 13:12-13Ephesians 5:8-10, Philippians 2:14-15.
In sum, pruning is intended to remove things that limit our fruitfulness by getting between God and us and is done so that we can better deliver His goodness to others.
So how does that happen? That will be discussed in the next few posts.