Then Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father takes care of the vineyard. He removes every one of my branches that doesn’t produce fruit. He also prunes every branch that does produce fruit to make it produce more fruit. [John 15:1-2 (GW)]
Pruning is good for plants: it encourages new growth; removes damaged, dead or diseased branches; shapes the plant; and encourages it to blossom and bear fruit. I’m not sure the plant appreciates it when the gardener snips off its branches. An author doesn’t enjoy it when an editor removes words or whole passages from his work. If a piece of wood could speak, it would probably complain as it is sanded; yet the carpenter sands it to remove the rough edges. Pruning, editing, and sanding are all done to make the final product better.
God prunes us by removing those things from our lives that hinder our growth and we rarely enjoy this pruning process. Like a good gardener, however, God shapes us so that we, too, will bear fruit, the fruit of the spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)