A branch can’t bear fruit unless it remains part of the vine. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither.” John 15:5-6a
How do we remain in Christ daily so our little branch is healthy…not just surviving but thriving? Gardeners prune or cut off injured or dead branches off fruit trees to get a maximum yield of fruit. To remain Christ centered we need to undergo some daily spiritual “pruning” so we too to bear much spiritual fruit. What might that pruning look like in your life? Here are some suggestions.
- First, In order to configure ourselves to Christ we need to prune off any sin or weakness in our branch. A good place to start is with a daily examination of conscience in the morning and in the evening followed by confession once a month. These two habits are necessary to keep our attachment to the vine strong.
- A second powerful pruning tool is prayer. Paul tells us to “pray constantly”. Prayer is conversation with God. Grace comes to the soul through prayer. This in turn creates a “disposition of the heart” to remain centered in Christ as we face our daily challenges. Jesus cautions us that “without me you can do nothing.”
- A third pruning tool is to invite the gifts of the Holy Spirit into our lives to help us to use our free will rightly. Pentecost is upon us. Ask for the courage and wisdom to avoid any temptation that could cut you off from the vine.
Wherever you are planted in this life, welcome the personal pruning that keeps your branch in the body of Christ thriving. If you do this Christ promises that you will bear much fruit.