“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).
If someone were to pick up the Bible for the first time and read that passage, they would likely be confused. The writers of the Bible used multiple metaphors about gardening, planting, and pruning. God used those metaphors for an important reason: He wanted to help people understand His will for their life. The culture that existed when the Bible was formed understood the dynamics of sowing and reaping the harvest. They had a clear picture of what healthy growth looked like when they looked at the plants and trees that surrounded them.
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:3, NIV).
To continue to grow, prosper, or bear fruit, a person must stay connected to a source of nourishment. At times, we will see that illustrated in the Bible as a vine and sometimes as a river. Either way, the point that can’t be overlooked is the importance of connection to a source of nutrients. If Jesus is the true vine, our responsibility as Christ-followers is to stay connected to that vine so the Father can prune us. God will shape us and change us so that we can bear fruit.
Later in the Bible, when Paul addressed the Colossian church, he also used the metaphor to bear fruit. Paul was specific in his prayer for the Colossians; he wanted them to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” and that the evidence of that connection would be by the fruit that the Colossians would bear.
My prayer is that you and I are also bearing fruit that shows we are walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. Our responsibility is to remain connected to the vine and to allow God to form us so that we can live the life that He has envisioned for us.