John 15:1-2 “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.” 

A couple of years ago, some new neighbors moved into the house across the street.  My family was close to the family that moved away so we wondered if we would like this new family as much.  They seemed nice, but one of the first things they did shocked us.  Their yard had several beautiful trees; it looked like a garden.  This new family, however, decided to aggressively prune their trees during their first week!  Now, this is their yard.  They can prune what they want, but the change was a shock to me.  I remember telling my wife, “They are destroying those trees!”  

Jesus teaches us an important lesson in John 15 about cutting things back in our life.  He uses an image of a vine and its branches and says that followers of Jesus are bonded to Him as a branch is bonded to the vine.  God expects us to bear fruit: the fruit of love and the fruit of others who follow Jesus because of our love.  Jesus gives us a heads-up and tells us that we will be pruned.  And this is not punishment but God making us more connected to Him. 

How about you?  This season, for many, has been a season of pruning.  Has God intentionally removed something from your life to make you more connected to Him?  What behavior, thought, or habit is God pruning in you or your family?

Take a few minutes to read and reflect on John 15:1-8.  Ask God if there is anything that needs to be pruned today.  Oh yeah, my neighbor’s trees?  They are better than ever!  I need to go over this week to learn how to prune mine.