Few of my friends have suggested that I haven't been much "fruitful" in life. And they say part of the reason is that I have been too "abiding" in my Christian life. They suggest that I step out of my Christian box and try something different. Any time I have heard that I have laughed. They have no idea that any time I have tried any of the ideas they have suggested it has turned to be disaster after disaster. God has let me ran off the rail few times but have quickly ran back. I guess the message God is sending out to me is you run from me at your own peril; you can do nothing without me. When you are not part of the vine you have the liberty to do whatever you like. Once on board the vine, leaving it has a dire consequences either immediate or in the future.
In the village where I grew up it's common for people of certain age to sense that their time of departure is approaching. When they realise that time is near they will summon all their love ones near and far to a meeting. In the meeting they will tell their love ones how they should live their lives once they are gone. I guess similar to that is what Christ had in mind when he called his disciples together and told them about The Vine and the Branches. Christ told the disciples how to live once he is physically away from them. The aim of the of the passage is more fruit for God's glory, and the path to that fruit-bearing is on abiding in Christ, and his word abiding in us. And prayer, according to verse 7, is an important ingredient of that abiding in Christ and having his word abiding in us.
Once you have decided to have relationship with Christ you must be prepared for some pruning exercise. Not long ago while walking with my wife on the street we came across some men cutting down some branches of the trees on the road side. I asked my wife why they had to do that since the branches looked fine to me. My wife just pointed to the writings on the packed vans. Tree surgeons were the writings. Her point was that if those people are surgeons then they are expert. They know what they are doing. Who could be more expert than God?. Sometimes by our human eyes we see nothing wrong with some idea, habit or project but God does. Sometimes we seek immediate growth but God seeks growth in the future. So whiles we may be disappointed for not getting the 6 figure salary job, all that could be God's way of pruning.
Fruit bearing is an important task expected of every Christian and the most surest way of bearing fruit is to undergo pruning. Of course pruning is an expensive and painful task yet once it's done, you are sure of getting some fruits back. God has no desire to hurt us. He only wants the best from us and for us.
Pruning doesn't have to be God's exclusive right. We all can learn and participate in the pruning exercise. In times of austerity, governments and organisations are cutting down things which hinders growth. For a church to grow it must seriously engage in pruning of its activities.Are there some church activities we must stop, to make time for others which might yield fruits? As individuals we must be able to rid ourselves of unnecessarily habits, lifestyles and activities which hinders growth. We can't be expert as God when it comes to pruning but at least we try. Now could be the best time to start pruning.