John 15:2 – “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
The boxwood shrubs in our yard had become large, unsightly and lifeless. Being totally uninstructed in how to correctly care for them, we called the garden center for help. “Prune them, cut them back,” came their reply. The pruning shears had been used very little, and now too they were not employed in a professional manner. When the job was completed, the boxwoods looked as if they were going to die! Leafless stubs stared at us. Had the pruning been too severe? Would foliage ever develop again? After some weeks, little green sprouts appeared, and soon full healthy boxwoods adorned our walks.
Our Lord desires growth and fruitfulness in every believer’s life. He cannot be pleased with unsightly spiritual stagnation. The Father is the “Vinedresser.” He needs no instruction in the art of spiritual pruning and cleansing. He knows precisely what is required to bring the Christian to being fruit bearing. The process is not without pain. The “shears of the Word” and the sharp “arrows of affliction” are skillfully in His hand for our correction. However, while “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Hebrews 12:11).
If the sharp blade of the divine Gardener is being experienced in your life today, it is for your good and His glory. Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8). Submit to His pruning; be obedient to His Word. “Afterwards” will come spiritual foliage and fruit.