If there’s one thing most Christians want, it’s to thrive spiritually—to flourish in their walk with God.

I have to believe the same is true for you… that you want to flourish and thrive in your spiritual life and your relationship with God. And God wants the same thing for you!

Naturally, the question is: How do you go about having a vibrant spiritual life? In John chapters 15-18, God gives us four things that will enable you and me to thrive in our spiritual lives—if we believe, understand, and embrace them.

The first of those principles is found in John 15:1-2. Here is what Jesus says:

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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

In this picture, Jesus is the true vine, the heavenly Father is the vinedresser, and we are the branches that get pruned so that we might bear much fruit. The point of this passage is that God wants us to bear a ton of fruit. But to do so, you and I must get clipped!

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a vineyard and learned how they prune grapevines, but I’ve had a little firsthand experience.

Years ago, we had this amazing grapevine growing along our wall. It had a big thick trunk and it sprawled across every part of the wall. But there was one problem. Even though it was beautiful to look at out of the kitchen window, it very rarely produced grapes. Sometimes we might get one little bunch, but most years it wouldn’t produce anything.

I was really frustrated that our grapevine produced nothing, so I talked to a friend who was skilled in growing grapes. When I mentioned my frustration, the first thing he asked was if I pruned the grapevine.

I told him that I had not pruned the vine, so he volunteered to come over and show me how to prune it. A few days later, he showed up with these clippers and started clipping. He kept clipping and clipping until there was nothing left but a stick growing out of the ground! I was sure he had killed our vine. Really! There was nothing but a stick! But he reassured me that he hadn’t killed it and told me to just wait to see what happened by the end of the growing season.

To my amazement—as the season progressed—our stubby vine began to grow and sprout. In fact, we ended up with so many grapes, we had to give them to our neighbors. We had more grapes than we could possibly eat! Friend, God wants you to be fruitful. But if you are going to be fruitful, you’re going to need to get pruned.

The question is: How does God prune? In John 15:3, Jesus tells us, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

The word translated “clean” in verse 3 is the same word translated “prune” in verse 2. What Jesus is saying is that you and I are already pruned through the Word He has spoken to us.

Just as my friend clipped away the dead wood so that our little grapevine would put all its energy to grow fruit, so God wants to prune the dead wood from our lives so we can grow in Him. And the way God prunes us is through His Word.

Are you just getting by when it comes to your spiritual life? Watch Bayless’ revealing message called How to Thrive Spiritually, and discover three more principles that will enable you to thrive in your relationship with God.

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Linda Smith says:

    We have a grape vine in our PNW backyard, given to us decades ago by my husband’s father. In the years we have pruned it (to a stick. ..wow! …unfortunately not, but sounds like we need professional help!) I remember a season it grew clusters of grapes we’d never knew it could produce!

    Thank you, Bayless, for sharing this needful message in our walk with The Master Gardener. All praise and glory be unto Him!
    Shalom 🙂

    • Team BC says:

      Amen, Linda! Thank you for sharing your own experience with pruning grapevines. We look forward to hearing from you again! God’s peace! -Team BC

  • Betty says:

    I am a fairly new christian, and I wanted to thank you so much for this message. Your way of explaining pruning is so wonderful, and elementary, it really opened up my heart to understand this in such a loving, warm awe towards our Heavenly Father, because this is the same heart He has for each one of us on this earth, only His is wider/deeper than the distance between the east and the west. I just ask the Lord to show me how to live for him, the true rewards on this earth is to be better people (His love, peace, and joy that this world just cannot give). Thank you again, and God bless each and everyone of you, and continue to pray for each other.


    • Team BC says:

      Hi Betty, we’re so glad to know that you’ve decided to follow Jesus! We thought you might enjoy having access to the full message that was used to create this article. You can watch “How to Thrive Spiritually” on our YouTube channel anytime at https://youtu.be/DLMCq4KwMhM. Let us know if we can be of any further help to you in your new journey with Christ! Many blessings to you! -Team BC

  • Shakina Priya says:

    Amazing analogy. My mother grows Rose plants in small mud plants. On a visit to my parental home, I have seen big rose plant but with few flowers. I clipped away all the dead twigs and side branches until just a stick was left. My mom was so unhappy and was pained that I killed her rose plant. Fast forward a fortnight, my mom telephoned me informing that plant is lots and lots of beautiful rose buds.
    There is a spiritual application here as you brought out so beautifully.
    Thanks Pastor.

  • Cecilia Kirkman says:

    I have been aware of many seasons of pruning in my life that, though I have been aware, have been badly needed, have cringed whenever pruning season has been due. Equally, I have recognised the difference between those seasons & those whereby I have just been reluctant to have the Gardener’s pruners go near me,…& frankly, the barrenness in my life in the latter times has been even more unbearable than the cringe of the pruning shears! The Lord’s grace in my seasons of resistance, has given me opportunity to still get back on track but time is slipping by me, & the urgency within me to want to thrive recognises that I need His grace to just give me courage to trust Him to hold me through…I Do want to thrive so please pray for me for courage to yield to Jesus’ pruning shears & saw!

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