“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
John 15:5–7, ESV
It is easy to live and think that we can do it on our own and forget to receive from the only life-giver, our Lord Jesus Christ. In the image of the vine, we are reminded of the necessary pruning that our Lord will do within our lives. Things may seem to be going wonderfully and then become still. Ministries that were once thriving may wither and fall away. The work we do, like the work of the branches, is not meant to produce fruit for ourselves but fruit for the kingdom. If we become more focused on the thing and not Jesus, we may find those things fall away and necessarily so. If our focus is not on our eternal Lord, then hearts may become hardened and callous. Fruit may be produced, but it will be less abundant and may not have the same flavor. But as we remain in each season mindful of the vine, we may see such a great abundance of fruit even greater than we can imagine. Seasons of pruning are difficult, but they are a blessing as they help to remove all that does not belong to God. Sometimes those things may be less apparent to us, and their removal may come with pain and shock. We are not always aware of what some things may be costing us in our faith walk and journey. Our Lord is always calling us back to Himself and away from the things that are not of Him, but we may not hear because our ears are closed. In seasons of pruning, our Lord may open that which is closed as He draws us into Himself. Sadly, for those branches that remain solely on their own, we know what awaits. Let our hearts and minds ever abide in Christ Jesus.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.