Last week I wrote about a woman of God, Ruth Handy, who had told me to read John 15. In that post, I focused on the one verse that she directed me to. But as I read all of John 15 that night, another verse spoke to my heart. The chapter starts out with Jesus speaking to His disciples:
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-4.
Working with my rose garden, I know how pruning works. During the flowering season, old spent flowers are cut away. And early in the spring before new growth begins, most of the plant is cut away so that only a foot or so of the main branches remain. If roses are carefully pruned and maintained, they bear beautiful roses all summer long. But if they are not cared for in this way, their beauty is diminished.
My roses don’t have feelings or nerves, so this pruning is not painful for them. But for us humans, pruning is never fun and can even be painful as it involves have a part of ourselves cut away so that something better and more fruitful can grow.
I have read John 15 many times before because John is my favorite book of the Bible. So as I began to read this chapter I was only a few words in when I knew the subject of pruning was coming quickly. It has been a difficult and challenging year, and I must admit I don’t really feel up to more pruning. But then my eyes fell upon this phrase: “You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.” Wow! What a blessing that one sentence was to me. I felt in my spirit Jesus telling me it’s not my season of pruning because I’ve “already been pruned.”
Now I know that another season of pruning will come. It’s an annual thing for my roses, and I know I will probably see several more pruning seasons in my life. I know He’s not done with me yet. But for now, I need only to remain in Him.
Are you in a season of pruning? Never forget that it is for your benefit and for the glory of God. And it will not last forever. There will be a time when He says “you have already been pruned.” Better to be pruned than to be the branch that is cut off and thrown into the fire. Better to be a branch that is pruned and bears much fruit. Seasons of pruning are temporary and the glory you bring to Jesus is forever.