Recently, I entered into a new season with God. It is one where He desires to produce a great harvest of fruit from my life into those around me. However for this growth to occur, He needs to address areas within my heart. Just as a gardener assesses his orchard, God reviews areas within the heart.
As I continued to reflect upon these thoughts, I came across these passages in John.
John 15:1-5 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Here are some points to draw upon:
First, God wants us to bear fruit for Him and His Kingdom. The only way one can bear fruit is to be connected to the true vine – Jesus Christ. John 14:6 “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the life line that connects us to God the Father. He is the One who gives us life. His life is not only for eternity purposes; it is extended to us now here on earth. He is also the way of bearing righteous fruit for the Kingdom.
God is interested in the matters of our heart, and if our heart is not bearing fruit, He will assess what is interfering with the growth process. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit….” As I was reflecting upon these scriptures, God reminded me of a palm tree I have in my office. Periodically, it produces new growth shoots that try to develop at the base of the trunk. What I didn’t realize is that these new growths were depleting the main tree from nutrients that it needed to thrive and survive.
How many times have we allowed new growth shoots of bitterness and resentment to develop within our hearts due to hardships or unforeseen circumstances, and yet we don’t realize these things are depleting life from within us? Or how we have allowed selfish ambitions, pride and ego to infiltrate our hearts, zapping nutrients right from within? Here’s what I have learned. In order for me to flourish, God needs to bring to light what is going on within my heart. As He brings revelation, He shows us how we have allowed new growth shoots to reign within us. This time of revelation is not to bring condemnation upon us, but to address those things that are hindrances to our walk with Him. If we are willing, we will allow God to cut out those new growth shoots that are trying to rob us of life so we can receive complete healing and wholeness. In the end, the Gardener knows what we need to not only be completely satisfied in Him, but also what it will take for us to fulfill our destinies with Him.
The other part of that verse states “while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that I will be even more fruitful.” I know we sometimes question why God would prune areas within our lives if we are producing fruit. The answer is, He needs our root system strong and healthy in Him so we can produce more fruit the next time. Ephesians 3:17 “…. being rooted and established in love…” God needs us strong and healthy in Him, as well as ensuring our foundation is solid in Him. When a tree is bearing fruit, all the nutrients it obtains come from the root system. The same way with us, as we continue to grow and mature in Him, He will be the root system by which we flourish. So in what areas in your life is God looking to prune so that you are rooted in Him? Are there areas to reinforce who you are in Christ Jesus? Or is He using situations to build your faith in Him?
Jesus reinforces with the disciples the importance of remaining in Him. He states “No branch can bear fruit by itself…” He later states in verse 8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Our bearing fruit comes from being in union with Him the Vine. God’s heart is to have fellowship with His creation – you and me. Yet, how many times do we allow other things to interfere with our fellowship time with Him? Jesus also reinforces what brings glory to God the Father – it is showing ourselves to be disciples of Jesus Christ, His Son. A disciple is one who spreads the teachings of Jesus to those around us. A disciple is also one who follows in the example of the Teacher, replicating His actions – bearing fruit.
In closing Jesus reinforced one final point with them, and we would be wise to adhere to it. He stated “apart me from me you can do nothing.” As we continue to grow and mature in our walk with Christ, we need to remain humble and realize who our main source has been through the whole process. Too many times, we fall to deception and lose sight of our true root system. We start bowing down to greed, self-promotion, pride, and self-glory fulfilling our own motives and agendas. How often do we transplant our root system for the things of the world, such as approval of others, power, recognition and possessions, only finding those things do not sustain life?
So, perhaps God is using this teaching to have you realize that apart from Jesus, His Son, you cannot have eternal life? Or maybe He needs you to address some of the growth shoots that have been depleting you of His love, peace and joy. Or is He reminding you of your main Source?
How I pray the Lord would bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and give you peace.