As an English major, I love analogies. They are a great way to learn and understand new concepts and ideas. What I find very interesting is all of the analogies found in the Bible. God makes many comparisons throughout His word so that our feeble little minds can understand His majesty.
One that has always stood out to me is found in John chapter fifteen. Here we find Christ comparing Himself to a Vine and His people to branches. “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” (verse 2). We are branches that stem off from Christ. He is our elder brother who is looked after by our Father, the Vinedresser. In this verse, Christ is teaching us that if we are His people, we must bear fruit.
What does it mean to bear fruit? To grow, to produce, to give. We are to live in such a way that yields good things to honor our Creator and to help the world around us. In Galatians 5:22 we find examples of what type of fruit to bear: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. While it is our ultimate goal to bear this type of fruit for Him, we always fall short. Sometimes our stems get weak and need revitalization. So what does our Vinedresser do?
He prunes us. The dictionary tells us that the definition of prune is “to trim by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.” In order to bear good fruit, we have to allow God to cut away our bad stems. Pruning is a process, a very humbling process. The reason being that God can see our bad stems clearly. He knows our faults. However, it takes a great deal of mess-ups for us to realize our faults. He understands that we have to be pruned in order to bear the best fruit. He knows how to heal our broken stems.
What I marvel at is His willingness to prune us in the first place. He loves us so much that He patiently watches as some of our stems grow weak and break. And then He helps us cut them clean to prepare for a new fruitful steam to grow in its place. Our Vinedresser does not give up on His branches. He knows we have the potential to bear fruit, so He forgives us for our brokenness and attends to our needs.