What comes to mind when you think of fruit?
Cherries are my favorite, but not just any cherries. I love the tart cherries grown in the orchards along Michigan’s western shore, the Grand Traverse Bay area, my old stomping grounds. And my favorite way to eat cherries is baked in a pie with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream on top.
In John 15, though, Jesus wasn’t thinking about cherries—or apples or bananas or pomegranates—when He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV). Jesus talked about the evidence of His Holy Spirit’s presence in us that appears when we follow Jesus, live for Him, and walk closely with Him.
For years, whenever I’ve read Jesus’ words in John 15, I’ve thought right away of the apostle Paul’s list in Galatians: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV).
As my relationship with God deepened, He prompted me to focus on Jesus’ teaching in John: “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” (John 15:1-2 NIV). Specifically, I focus daily on “every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2 NIV). These two verses leave me with a few key points to ponder:
- How critical is God’s pruning to my being more fruitful?
- How often and how much does God have to prune me to increase my fruitfulness?
- What does productive pruning look like—and does it hurt?
- I wondered where I could go to gain some insight and explore some possible answers to these questions?
What you’ve just read is an excerpt for Transformational Life, a study guide for developing a deeper intimate relationship with God through his pruning that cultivates the fruit of the Spirit within you. If you like what you’ve read, and the questions presented thus far, this resource would be helpful.
I hope this resource will be an encouragement for you. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man or woman God created you to be.
FYI: I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed beloved son or daughter.