“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…I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-2,5
John 15 might be familiar to you. The picture is of Jesus the gardener who comes to prune off branches – both those that bear fruit and those that do not. Things don’t always grow in God’s Kingdom. We shouldn’t expect that the things of God will just keep on getting bigger and better – it’s not biblical!
In fact Jesus taught the opposite, that there are seasons of growth, and we should also expect that there will be seasons of pruning. This can feel like failure to us – and we don’t like to fail, we don’t like the things we lead to be seen to be shrinking or in decline. It’s tempting to ask the question ‘what’s gone wrong?’ and then try to come up with a reason that takes the blame off us, or try to fix the ‘problem’ in some way, striving and pushing to keep things going when what we’re actually doing is going against what God is wanting to do – it’s exhausting!
Want to think about pruning a bit more? To read an excellent blog article on embracing pruning click here.