I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2, NIV

One summer, I decided not to stake or prune my tomato plants. I let them grow “naturally.” I wanted to see, if left to their own nature, how much fruit they would produce. Not surprisingly, the multiple vines which grew from each plant produced very little fruit.

The following year, I made an effort to continually prune the little branches from the main stem so that each plant could grow only one primary vine. I drove tall wooden stakes next to the plants deep into the ground. I tied the vines to the stakes so that when the tomatoes grew, they would be off the ground. Not surprisingly, these plants produced two to three times more fruit than the year before!

Is it time for pruning in your personal or professional life?

Is it the amount of food you eat? Is it the amount of time you spend on technology or social media each day? Are there drawers and closets full of clothes and things you haven’t used in years that could bless someone if they were given away? Are there relationships not bearing good fruit that need to be cut back? Do you need to cut back on the amount of extra-curricular activities your children are involved in? Do you need to cut back on spending in certain areas or credit card use? Do you need to reduce the amount of work you are doing on the Sabbath?

Ask the Lord what needs to be pruned—He will reveal it to you!

Do you need to cut back on the hours you are spending on school work, beyond the eight-hour workday, in order to have more time with the Lord, your spouse, children, or friends? What programs, materials, and strategies need to be reduced or removed? Is there murmuring, complaining, gossip, careless words, repressed anger, or self-pity that need to be removed? Does self-righteousness or an “I am always right” attitude, need to be adjusted?

Ask the Lord what needs to be pruned—He will reveal it to you!

God has pounded a stake, the cross of Jesus Christ, next to you. He has bound you to this stake with mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love. Allow Him to prune the areas in your life that are unnecessary so you can bear more of His fruit. And then watch as you reap the harvest!

God, show us what You want to be pruned in our personal and professional lives so that we may bear more fruit. Give us the courage and strength to remove these things. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Copyright Don Clark.

Recently retired from his role as leader of the Christian Educators Houston area network, Don has been a remarkable leader, building a network of LIFT groups in nearly 30 schools, hosting transformative events, building a leadership team, and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to support compassion ministries, Christian Educators, and other causes.

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Teachers of Vision is a digital and printed magazine that is for teachers and written by teachers to encourage and equip the educational community.

Walking in the Opposite Spirit

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