"He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit." - John 15:2, NIV
The fruit of the vineyard is only borne in abundance on tender, fairly new growth. As the wood of a branch gets older, it tends to get harder. So even though a branch is living and is connected to the vine, it can become barren. Still leaving the branch connected to the vine, the gardener cuts back the old, hard wood, forcing it into new growth that will produce fruit instead of just more wood and leaves. In fact, there are times when he cuts the branch back so drastically all that is left of it is the connection to the vine.
Jesus described this drastic pruning in a believer’s life when He explained that the Gardener “cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit.” There are times when God cuts everything out of our lives except our relationship with Jesus. He forces us to pay attention to our relationship with Him because that’s all we have. And in the process, our “connection” to the Vine is enlarged and fruit is produced.