When we moved onto seven acres of land with our six children, we went crazy with all that space. Along with fruit trees and raspberries and blueberries and a big garden, (and an assortment of animals), we also ended up with a couple long rows of table grapes. Unfortunately, with six kids and no internet, we never really got around to learning how to properly care for the vines. We knew enough to prune them way back each year before spring warmed up, and we had some fence posts and wires up to support them. But we didn’t really learn how to train them or nurture them to their full potential.
So we always had lots and lots of branches and leaves, with a few clusters of grapes hidden inside them. Now that I’ve watched a dozen or more videos on how to prune grapes, I wish I could go back and do it the right way! We would know not to water them so much, and to prune away much of the growth during the summer so the sun could reach the grape clusters. We’d know how to have a good harvest of grapes instead of the tangle of vines and leaves we always had.
God knows what He is doing with the branches on His Vine. He is the ultimate Master Gardener. He prunes us, making each cut count, so that we will bear more fruit. Through trials, afflictions, and His Word, He trims away all that would block sunlight and air, the Word and the Spirit, at work in our lives. He considers each of us and our unique needs and weaknesses. He cuts away suckers that rob energy and He prunes in order to stimulate new growth. And as He prunes, the fruit becomes visible — Christ’s love, His peace, His joy — bursting from the branches that are simply abiding in the Vine.
Can we trust Him? Can we remember what He is seeking to accomplish when illness strikes us or those we love? Can we thank God for the fruit He is maturing in our own lives when our children’s immaturity and sin stretch us to our limits? Can we keep the harvest in mind when we’re slandered, when we’re misunderstood, when we suffer?
“…Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” God’s pruning is a for an eternal purpose.
So what is this fruit God wants to produce in us? That’s what we’re going to start looking at today!
Assignment: Pray, thanking God for this passage of Scripture and the privilege of being one with Christ, the Vine.
- Then grab a red colored pencil and a purple colored pencil. It’s time to do some more marking.
- Using your Bible or printed text, read John 15. Draw a purple circle around the words bear fruit every time you find them. Draw a simple red house shape (a box with a triangle on top) over the words abide, abiding, and any synonyms for abide. (You will find that some of the appearances of bear fruit may include the words much or more. Circle the entire phrase in those instances.)
- When you have finished, read back through your markings and summarize in your notebook what you learn about bearing fruit. Have you gained any new insights from this simple exercise? Share them with the rest of us! 🙂
We’ll continue tomorrow!
For your children:
- Older children should be able to mark both abide and bear fruit in their marked text.
- Discuss together each appearance of the phrase bear fruit. Make a list together of everything that you can learn about bearing fruit from this passage.
- Get the younger children moving again with this lesson!
- Set a plate of fruit (grapes if you have them) on a table or chair in front of the children. (You’ll need small fruits like berries, grapes, or cherries and at least eight pieces for each child participating.)
- Give each child a plastic bowl or bag.
- Read John 15:1-8, directing the children to stand up and hold out their bowl or bag every time they hear the phrase bear fruit, bear much fruit, etc.
- Place a piece of fruit in each child’s container every time they stand up, and talk about the verse.
- Then continue reading and responding to each hearing of bear fruit.
- Finally, read verse 16 which also contains the phrase.
- Discuss this verse while everyone eats their fruit. For what purpose has God chosen us?
- Tell the children that you will be talking more tomorrow about this fruit.