Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2)
Believers in Christ are the branches that are connected to Christ’s vine. The Vinedresser is very concerned with the productivity of His vine. He does everything to rightly care for it. There are two kinds of branches: non-productive and productive.
(1) He gives special care to the branches not bearing fruit.
Jesus says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away.” We know that this “takes away” is a poor translation that translations keep repeating. Literally it means to ‘lift up.’ The concept is easy to understand. Grape vines grow fast and wild. The goal is to keep the grape vine up high so it can get sun and stay off the ground. When a grape branch hangs down upon the ground, it tends to get mud and disease rather than bear fruit. The goal is to lift the branch off the ground.
This describes the Christian not bearing fruit. Does God the vinedresser want every Christian to bear fruit? Most definitely. Even in the book of Numbers we see God’s great patience with His people. The means by which God ‘lifts’ these branches from the world are quite unique. But if you do not repent and turn back to the vine yourself, God will use sometimes difficult means to bring you back.
(2) He prunes those branches that are bearing fruit so that they can bear more fruit.
Jesus says, “Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.” We find here that God is not only discontent with those branches that are not productive, but that even from the good branches that are bearing fruit, He wants more. So what does He do? He prunes them. This is a drastic step in which difficult situations come to a Christian’s life which in time enable him to be even more successful.
In each case we see that God wants to bless His people. He wants to bring more fruit from their lives. You might be content not to bear fruit but God isn’t. The vinedresser is even willing to induce painful experiences that there might in the end be a net increase of blessings. We are not often thinking about eternity. But if we would weigh this into the equation, we would be much more quick to accept the temporary struggles for greater results.
Do you see God’s purpose for difficult times? It might be because we are being lazy or on the other hand it might be because we are being faithful, but more blessing is what God is after. It makes sense to work with God rather than in opposition to Him.