1I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every 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. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.—John 15:1-4
In the whole plant world there is not a tree to be found so specially suited to the image of man in his relation to God as the vine. There is none of which the fruit and its juice are so full of the spirit, so quickening and stimulating. Of all plants, not one needs the pruning knife so unsparingly and so unceasingly. None is so dependent on cultivation and training, but with this none yields a richer reward to the husbandman. In His wonderful parable, the Savior, with a single word, refers to this need of pruning in the vine and the blessings it brings. But from that single word what streams of light pour in upon this dark world, so full of suffering and sorrow to believers! What treasures of teaching and comfort to the bleeding branch it is hour of trial: “Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2 kjv). And so He has prepared His people, who are so ready when trial comes to be shaken from their confidence, and to be moved from their abiding in Christ, to hear in each affliction the voice of the messenger that comes to tell them to abide still more closely. Yes, believer, most especially in times of trial, abide in Christ.
Abide in Christ! This is indeed the Father’s object in sending the trial. In the storm the tree strikes deeper roots in the soil; in the hurricane the inhabitants of the house abide within and rejoice in its shelter. So by suffering the Father would lead us to enter more deeply into the love of Christ. Our hearts are continually prone to wander from Him; prosperity and enjoyment all too easily satisfy us, dull our spiritual perception, and make us unfit for full communion with Himself. It is unspeakable mercy that the Father comes with His chastisement, makes the world around us all dark and unattractive, and leads us to feel more deeply our sinfulness and for a time lose our joy in what was becoming so dangerous. He does it in the hope that, when we have found our rest in Christ in time of trouble, we will learn to choose abiding in Him as our only portion, and so when the affliction is removed, we will have so grown more firmly into Him, that in prosperity He still will be our only joy. —Andrew Murray
Prayer – Father, You know all about me and how closely I abide in You. Forgive me for being too easily drawn away from You and too easily distracted from what You have planned for me. Do the necessary pruning in my life, Lord, that I may bear abundant fruit for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.