I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. -John 15:1-2
Try as we might, no one can avoid getting cut or pruned by God in this life. God touches everyone, and many times his touch hurts. How we respond to these trials will be the evidence of what type of wound we have received. God cuts everyone but everyone who is cut does not experience the same outcome.
God Prunes or Cuts All Branches
There are two and only two choices in life when it feels like we are being severed in half. All the millions of difficulties that will make us bleed on planet earth can be used to draw us closer to God so we bear more fruit, or these hurts will turn out to be our final knockout blow.
The variable in life is not if you will experience tragedy, relational heartache, or suffering. These things are a given. You will not escape this life unscathed. If you breathe the oxygen on planet earth you are going to breathe the pain of a broken planet no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
The variable to life comes after the initial blow. Once you get punched in the face by life and you’re lying on the ground, wondering how you got there, the next choice you make will be the great determining factor to what type of cut you just received from God.
Our Choices Show If We Were Pruned or Cut Off
If you run away or get up only to hurt the world like it just hurt you, then you are taking the path of becoming an un-pruned branch that is picked up and thrown into the fire by God. But if you choose to use the pain as a catalyst towards Christ, if you desire what God desires in that the difficulties are drawing you closer to God rather than farther apart – then the cut you received will turn out to be God pruning you because you are fruitful branch.
God cuts of the branches that do not glorify him and he prunes the branches that are glorifying him so that they will glorify him more. When you are a branch that is cut off, you will know it because you will no longer be connected to Christ. But if you are pruned then your connection with Christ will eventually become even stronger as God cuts away the excess in your life that is hindering your connection to Jesus.
No Branch Can Avoid Being Cut by God, But We Can Avoid Being Cut Off
The obvious fact, however, is that God is going to cut us. This cut will either separate us from God as our sinful responses choose, or his cut will sanctify us so our aim of pleasing God will be pruned and thus more effective.
Whether sliced off or pruned, it always hurts when you are cut. Pain is not a variable for the dead branch or the pruned branch. The variable comes in the form of our choice to either remain on the ground to shrivel up and die or to seek the healing of a deeper walk with Christ through the cut. This choice will be the evidence of what type of branch we are.
You cannot avoid being cut deeply in this life, but you can avoid being cut off. May we seek the grace and healing of Jesus Christ so that through the pain we will bring God more glory than if we were not cut at all.
This is God’s hope for us, that “every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. . . . By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:2, 8).
Pain doesn’t prove anything. But when you are pruned, this proves God is working in your life as you grow to glorify him more.