We have a lovely little fruit tree growing in our front yard that year by year has produced less and less fruit until last year it stopped bearing fruit completely. Though it was still beautiful on the outside, it had stopped being useful. Additionally, some branches had begun to grow in the wrong direction and onto our roof. This year, my husband decided it was time to solve the problem; it was time to prune the tree. Though I expressed hesitation, afraid that it may alter the tree’s aesthetic, he reasoned that it was the only way and proceeded to do that which was necessary.
A few weeks later, he called me out into the front yard and had me stand under the tree. As I surveyed, looking up into the branches, I began to understand. I was surrounded by arms, full and heavy with small round fruit. The necessary pruning was successful. It had not only kept the tree from continuing to grow in the wrong direction but had worked to encourage fruitful growth.
Sometimes, we, like this tree, have the appearance of life, but somewhere along the way, we may have stopped bearing fruit—real fruit, kingdom fruit. It is even possible, just like that beautiful little tree, that we may have even subtly, in some areas of our life, begun to grow in unhealthy directions, ones that could eventually be destructive.
In John 15, Jesus proclaims, “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…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:1, 2, 4b Jesus makes it clear—it is vital that God prune us. He also makes it clear that the key to our fruitfulness is found in remaining in Him.
Today, survey your fruit. Is it healthy and abundant? If not, ask the Lord why. Let Him do some work. Be receptive to His pruning and draw near to Him.