1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
3“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
A grapevine says, in the early spring, “How glad I am to get through the winter! I shall have no more trouble now! Summer weather will come, and the garden will be very beautiful!” But the gardener comes, and cuts the vine here and there with his knife. The twigs begin to fall, and the grapevine calls out, “Murder! What are you cutting me for?” “Ah,” says the gardener, “I do not mean to kill you. If I did not do this, you would be the laughingstock of all the other vines before the season is over.” Months go on and one day the gardener comes under the trellis, where the great clusters of grapes hang, and the grapevine says, “Thank you, sire, you could not have done anything so kind as to cut me with that knife.”
The usual practice in viticulture, the care of vines, is for the branches to be pruned back each year in order to cleanse them. A vine produces certain shoots called “sucker shoots,” which start to grow where a branch joins the stem. If allowed to continue to grow, they would dissipate the life of the vine through so many branches that the vine would produce little or no fruit and would produce mainly leaves instead. Every vinedresser knows it is important to prune away these little sucker shoots to ensure plentiful fruit. Since the shoots grow right where the branch joins the stem, creating a tight cluster where dirt, leaves, and other debris collect, the pruning is basically a cleansing process.
The God’s work in our lives is to find a branch that is beginning to bear fruit, beginning to produce the likeness of Christ, and then to cut it back. He trims off the troublesome shoots, so that we may bear more fruit.
No pruning, no grapes; no battle, no victory; no cross, no crown.