Jesus wants us to experience a connection with God that is complete. This is the point of his teaching about the vine and the branches in John 15.
What does “complete connection” look like?
According to the branches metaphor, “complete connection” includes two concepts: pruning and fruit.
Pruning speaks to what must be let go, or taken away. Fruit is the reason or the purpose or the goal.
Fruit is the evidence that the connection is complete. It’s the designed result of a complete connection.
Pruning is the process of removing anything that hinders the desired fruit/result of that complete connection.
Here’s a story: When my son was two, he was a phenomenal climber. We would regularly find him on top of furniture, ascending chain-link fences, and climbing trees.
Once he climbed so high in the tree in our yard that I had to climb up after him. And at the critical point in the rescue attempt, I told him to let go of a branch.
What was so hard about this was that,
a few minutes earlier I had told him,
“hold on to that branch.”
Why was I now telling him to let go of it?
So he could hold on to me.
This was difficult. It always is.
I was telling him to let go of a secure thing,
a known thing,
a good thing.
Was I being cruel? Unwise? No. I understood something that, to him, seemed counterintuitive and scary: he needed to let go of something in order to hold on to someone.
Because God is good, what God does is good. The pruning, the command to let go, is always and only motived by God’s desire for a more complete connection with you, his child.