“I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.” John 15:1 -2 AMP
Pruning is the process where a farmer cuts off branches of a tree that are unproductive or are hindrance to the regular growth of other branches or are growing wild and unregulated; in order to make the tree bear better fruit and grow higher and to also give the tree a more handsome and regular appearance.
A man whom God will use must understand first of all that despite all his gifts and graces, despite all the anointing upon his life, he is but a part of a large body with many other parts.
Yet, since he is a leader amongst God’s people, he is a critically important part. This is because as a branch, the growth and development of the fruits God is expecting to see depends on him.
Incidentally, there are two types of fruits the Lord expects to see from this “Branch” that is called a leader. The first one is the fruit of Christian character and the second is the fruit of his produce (i.e. souls won over and discipled for the Lord).
Thus, the man who does not yield his neck to this pruning process, allowing the Lord Jesus to cut off his own excesses, weaknesses, errors, character flaws, will eventually become unprofitable as far as God’s work is concerned.
“Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away…”
It must be very clear to us that once we are not bearing commensurate fruits consistent with repentance and a changed life, even if one is ordained as a pastor, he will be cut off from God.
It was religious leaders who the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of John the Baptist, gave some of the sternest threats ever proclaimed against men.
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee and escape from the wrath and indignation [of God against disobedience] that is coming? Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart]; And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham for our forefather; for I tell you, God is able to raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones! And already the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matt. 3:7-10
More so, since everything reproduces after its kind (see Matt. 7:16, 20), the leader who does not allow the Lord to cut him down to size must realise that this decision will have a ripple effect on the congregation.
People are merely a reflection of those who lead them. If you do not have fruits of character consistent with a changed life, rest assured that the kind of people you will produce will remain worldly, unchanging and difficult to carry along or to even get along with!
“…And He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.”
As we can see, pruning is expected to be a consistent process in the life of the man of God. If the Lord does not keep cutting off the flesh and every other excess as the man of God ascends to every new level, after a while, he will not be different from worldly people.
For instance, it is pruning that disciplines a spiritual leader from being carnal and worldly when he is confronted with matters of pride, wealth, acquisitions, crowds, awards, use or abuse of the anointing and so on.
If the Lord does not cut you down to size, like a wild branch, if He does not keep nipping off everything that makes us wander away from God’s presence, one would become an unprofitable, unfruitful and unreliable branch. The only future for such branches is to be permanently cut off from the Lord.
Gird your loins, O man of God…let the Lord keep producing the fruits of the Spirit in you. The very future of your ministry depends on it…