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.
I often think of the pruning season of the vineyards next to us in California back in Bible school days. Those beautiful green vines would suddenly be pruned back to what looked like stumps. Who would ever think that pruning was the way to fruitfulness? Like clockwork, every spring, the vines would grow back again preparing for another season of harvest. Before you knew it,the vineyard was alive again. From the first growth of the early spring, to the vines bending from the heaviness of the fruit. Pruning plays a major role in it all. Pruning is important, without it there wouldn’t be much fruit. The Lord Himself is the farmer, He knows exactly what needs to be pruned away. He will prune back members of His body to prepare the way for future growth and harvest. At the end of the day the Lord is after fruit, fruit is the glory of the Lord. Here are some of Luther’s thoughts on today’s verse.
“God separates the wild branches from the others so that they won’t spread and spoil the true vine. God singles them out to protect the true vine. He determines which ones should be cut off and tossed into the fire. But it all appears very different to us. We see these wild branches growing and spreading. They are much stronger and thicker than the others. They look like the only true ones that will produce fruit. In contrast, we appear small, puny, and unfruitful. Yes, people want to root us out and cut us off as useless and unfit. But the false vines appear as if they will remain forever, and the entire world respects them highly. We need spiritual understanding and vision… From the time of the apostles until now, many heresies have challenged the teachings of Christ, of baptism, of the Lord’s Supper, of justification by faith, and so on. These heresies are so pervasive that it appears they are correct teachings and the Christian church might pass away. But God has cut off all of these wild branches and preserved his true branches, so that we nevertheless hold on to right teaching, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper as the apostles gave them to us.”
We have to trust the Lord when it comes to pruning. When He gets out that pruning knife it is never fun. We have to trust Him to cut away. He cuts away stuff from our personal lives as well as things or people from His body. He is the Vinedresser, we are just branches. As He nourishment flows into us, before we even know it, growth begins to appear all over again.