In the book of John, this titular disciple captures a sermon that Jesus gave about how to best grow, maintain and produce good fruit (see John 15:1-17 for the full message). Jesus spends quite a bit of time talking about how He is the vine and we are the branches. To produce good fruit, we need to stay close to Him by reading the Bible, spending time in prayer and in fellowship with other believers, building each other up and spurring each other on. For me, this is the easy part. I like to read, know the importance of prayer and enjoy conversations about God with friends and family.
The part that’s not so fun to talk about on the journey for good fruit is the pruning part. Jesus doesn’t shy away from the fact that we will need to be pruned so that we will produce even more good fruit. No one likes it when the rough parts are chipped away because it hurts before it gets better. The middle of lesson learning isn’t a “safe” space, but often requires vulnerability and the wherewithal to cling to hope and faith when it doesn’t necessarily make sense or feel good.
Thank goodness God is in the business of redemption! Once the storm has passed, we often emerge with a story that points back to God’s faithfulness even in the storm. The fruit that is produced in our hearts and lives after a tumultuous time is so much sweeter than what we had to begin with. Thanks be to God for His goodness and faithfulness. May we continue to trust, abide and be willing to be pruned for His Glory.
Photo credit: Dinah Liu via Unsplash.com