by | Apr 25, 2024 | Fruit, Submission

I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Every 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. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide 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. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.”

(John 15:1-8 ESV)

We have several grapevines in the backyard. My husband built an arbor for them to grow on, and every year they produce fruit. Unfortunately, they aren’t as productive as they should be—neither of us knows the right way to take care of them. Some years they go completely unpruned, and we get a million leaves and not much fruit. Other years my husband gets frustrated with the jungle and cuts them to the ground before I can stop him. Still, the vines keep coming back—but they’d do much better if they had gardeners who knew what they were doing!

Fortunately, God is a much better vinedresser than we are. He takes good care of the vine that He loves—Jesus our Savior. We are Jesus’ branches, and His blood runs through us and gives us life. Because He loves us, Jesus died and rose again to make us His own; and as long as we are connected to Him in faith, we know that we will never die. And God will do whatever it takes to keep this vine healthy and fruitful.

That can be kind of scary—I doubt any grapevine looks forward to pruning season, and I certainly don’t like it when God allows pain or suffering to come into my life! And yet I do see the fruit that results when I listen to His Word and allow Him to teach me and guide me. I don’t want to be a jungly mess, all leaves and no fruit for Jesus. I love Him! I want Him to look at me and be happy and joyful. He paid too high a price on the cross for me to be willing to give Him less than my best.

So what can I do? Nothing on my own. But I can allow God to do His work in my life, strengthening me through His Word and through Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I can put up with the pruning and turn to Him for help when it hurts. And I can be happy that Jesus’ blood runs through me and makes me alive in Him. My fruit comes from Him, and I am glad.

We Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, make me fruitful for You! Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on April 25, 2024
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights

Reflection Questions:
1. What do you know about pruning plants?
2. How does God keep you connected to Jesus?
3. What kind of fruit has God produced in your life recently? Even if it’s tiny?