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Jesus raises up the unfruitful branches and He prunes the fruitful branches. This is when He gets our attention. We work our whole life to become fruitful and then He shows up with the pruning shears to trim us back. Never misinterpret the season of subtraction as God’s opposition in our lives. God prunes us so He can promote us. Pruning happens before promotion. There are four reasons why gardeners prune their vines:

1. So new fruit can grow. 

2. To remove dead or dying branches. If God takes it, we don’t need it. Dead things steal life from living things. We can’t live in our past — good or bad — so He takes it away.

3. To allow sunlight into the fruit-bearing branches. When we bear fruit sometimes the branches become so thick, they shield the sun from hitting the productive branch. Without maintenance, the most productive part of the vine can be overcome by new growth that steals the sunlight. Anything keeping you from Jesus, God will cut away.

4. To improve the size and quality of the fruit.

Remember: the number one goal in our lives is to be like Jesus. That means that we bear fruit to God by becoming like His son.