This devotion is part of the He Said - She Said series posted on
“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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. – John 15: 1-6
Prune: a fruit (noun). Prune: cut (verb). Prune: shorten (verb). Prune: clean, neat and tidy (adverb). To prune: hurts (no fun). Can we define prune? As I see it we can look at a prune from two angles – the fruit or the cut.When I read this scripture,
the word prune jumps out at me for a montage of reasons, The two primary thoughts are fruit and pain. In its own right, the words of John 15 are the perfect example of what are lives are to be as Christians. However, to me I can’t get the object of a prune out of my mind. You know what I mean – the cleansing process of the fruit when eaten. Regardless of how we look at pruning, it’s not a source of fun.
The method is a way of cleansing, growth, and discipline. Do any of those things sound like a party you and your friends would like to attend? Well of course not. No body likes to suffer, but that’s what the trimming process does. It invokes pain and suffering.
As much as we’d like to believe that we’re a good and perfect species, we are far from it. Our intentions are good. If we look at ourselves as a literal vine, then we can say that as a new Christian our tiny roots take hold and burrow deep into the ground producing a tender vine. As we grow our stem stretches upward and the taller we become the heavier our leaves and branches weigh until we fall to our side and crawl across the ground (that's our sin). We search for something to wrap around and lift ourselves upward once again (that's our repentance). Crawling on our sides makes us dirty, damages our leaves and limbs. Breaks us in places. That’s when the gardener decides to prune us (that's our forgiveness), and that’s when the pain begins (that's our growth).
If we look at pruning in the positive light, it’s time to begin again – a renewal. Unfortunately, we are a people who demands to learn from consequence. So when God lifts us from our hardships and begins to reshape us, we tend to squirm. The feeling is uncomfortable, painful, and not what we had in mind for a good time. However, once the realization of what can come from the ashes strikes us, we furrow our brow and say, “Ohhhh.” There are times we become so damaged that God nearly cuts us to the ground. But the result – ah, the result is astounding.
Regardless of the method of pruning (there’s that picture of a prune again). Whether by a bag of prunes or by the shears, we still end up stripped and cleaned, tossed and burned. Believe it or not, we’re the better for it because after the pain is gone we reach to the next level. We’re stronger than before, wiser, more equipped to handle the worries of life – more willing to serve.
So, I bite into a prune. Not my idea of a tasty fruit, though some love them. I still see them as wrinkled and filled with a huge pit. God however, regardless of whether it’s the fruit or the cut –sees them as a cleansing tool.