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. – John 15:1-2
I, like most Christ-followers, want to bear spiritual fruit for the Lord and be known as one who bears fruit for Him. But like any vine or tree, it is possible for some “dead” stuff to hang on. We may even have some branches (parts of our life) that “appear” healthy, but in reality, have nothing to do with who Jesus wants us to be.
These “branches” (activities, actions, and attitudes) will be “pruned” (removed or shaped) by the Master Gardener. Like an artisan, He knows what must go and what must remain that His image might be perfected in each. This process can sometimes feel like a haircut, painless and necessary. At other times it may seem like an amputation, frightening and cruel, but also required.
The older I get, the more focused I hope to become, that with a laser-like intensity I might pursue the purposes of Christ; however, this desire implies I also submit to His pruning. It will not always be pleasant, but it will always be needed.
He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is. – A.W. Tozer