The Southern girl in me enjoys few things more than sitting on the porch and drinking in the evening breeze. I have a new little person that shares that joy. She and I sit on the patio and sing just as I did with the first two. After a few rounds of Jesus Loves Me and an anointed rendition of the ABC song, the Holy Ghost pointed me to John 15.
I picked up my phone, swiped to the Bible app, and began reading one of my favorite chapters.
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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:1-4)
Did the Holy Ghost speak to you as you read that? He shouted at me and told me to read it again.
As I read those verses for the second time my mind raced back to an old white house where I lived during my early teen years. In the backyard grew a Dogwood tree, a huge magnolia, a small peach tree, and a grapevine. My mother would give me a pair of shears, and I’d hack the grapevine to pieces until I could find a vine that was green and pliable. Eventually we were able to get a few grapes off of it, but they were small and sharp-tasting– hardly good enough to eat.
“Read it again!”
I read the first two verses again, and Holy Ghost shouts inside of me in His old, Black uncle voice “EVERYBODY GETTING CUT!”
I gasped “Lord, what do you mean?!” Talk about a pearl-clutching moment…
Those who bear no fruit are chopped off, and those who do bear fruit are pruned so they can bear more fruit. But the point remains, everyone has to endure the Vinedresser and His shears.
The grapevine I pruned as a child had been neglected for so long, the vine became dry and wiry. My siblings and I would pull the vine in a tug-of-war match to get it free from the trellis. The pieces that were still alive had dry ends and needed pruning, so we clipped little ends here and there and any place that we clipped, two branches would grow in place of that one. By clipping those ends, we made more room for the vine to produce fruit.
By clipping our dead, little nasty bits, the Vinedresser makes more room for us to produce the fruit we need for a Godly, fulfilling life. We don’t like to be snipped and pruned. We don’t like to be doing reasonably well, then suffer what feels like loss. Pruning even leaves a wound in a place where we felt progress had been made. But if we hold fast, in a set amount of time, a new area of growth and promises extends from that formerly dead place.
Here’s the catch.
If you don’t allow the Vinedresser to prune you…
If you don’t yield to His correction…
If you only focus on shining up the little bit of fruit you do have, you will stop growing. Anything that isn’t growing IS dying. The short dry ends will become longer dead wires, and the Vinedresser will remove you so that others may produce fruit in the space you left behind.
You’re going to get cut one way or the other. Will it be to separate from the true vine, Christ Jesus, or to His glory and the yielding of fruit?
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
Image courtesy of satit_srihin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net