The Vinedresser

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.” ~John 15:1-8 (CEB)

“God desires that we be abundantly fruitful and acts to help this happen. With enduring faithfulness and intimate knowledge of our capacities, the heavenly Vinedresser provides opportunities for us to shed the excess burdens that inhibit our full maturation in God’s service. ‘Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit’ (John 15:2). The Bible sometimes describes this process of intensive nurture using the image of a parent exercising constructive discipline with a child. The purpose is not to erase our uniqueness or subdue our vitality, but rather to give us a share in God’s own holiness (Heb. 12:10) and thereby to become ‘fully-developed, complete, with nothing missing’ (James 1:3).

Pruning can certainly be uncomfortable. It strips us of what is non-essential to the power of God’s life rising within us. But it also gathers and focuses energies previously dispersed in draining distractions or even apparently worthy commitments. Pruning concentrates the savor of the fruit we bear, for it proceeds from inward peace and promotes outward goodness. Therefore the effect of the Vinedresser’s skilled hands is always a power of life greater than that which we would or could choose on our own.” ~From “Editor’s Introduction” by John S. Mogabgab in Weavings September/October 2001

Heavenly Father, give me strength as You prune me for growth. Help me to fully develop so that I may share in Your holiness. May I allow Your power to work through me to be greater than I could be on my own. Amen.

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