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Bearing Fruit – The Incredible Process of Pruning in the Bible

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Bearing fruit as a believer is easy when when life is, isn’t it? But in times of adversity? Not so much! How do we effectively walk out our faith during trials and what pruning in the Bible shows us about God preparing us to bring forth fruit and serve Him?

An image of a woman's arm and hand as she is pruning a flower bush with a text overlay that says Bearing Fruit - The Incredible Process of Pruning in the Bible

Bearing Fruit as a Believer- John Bunyan

There’s a quote that resonates with me every time I experience times of adversity. This quote really taught me that instead of focusing on TRYING (often in my own power) to produce fruit in the difficult times, God can use these trials to develop that fruit in me.

John Bunyan, known most notably for his book “Pilgrim’s Progress“, was a writer and a Puritan preacher. He once spent twelve years in an English prison because he refused to give up preaching. I won’t go too much into his life and his accomplishments here, but he is definitely worth reading up on!

But here I am interested in his one quote, a quote that always seems to come to me when I am struggling. It is one of only very few extra-biblical quotes that does so!

John Bunyan said:

“It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit because there is no winter there.”

John Bunyan

Bearing Fruit – A Time of Preparation

We often think of winter as our annual time of adversity don’t we?

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We love fall, but winter??? Once the holidays are past, we just want to get on with Spring don’t we?

We are tired of snow and ice and having to shovel driveways or deal with black ice on the roads.

I am sure, as a general rule, most of us could do without winter!

Bu some fruit trees require a winter in order to go through the dormant period that is required for them to produce fruit in the spring. This “chilling time” is a season of preparation for the tree and the amount of chilling required is dependent upon the tree.

“It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit because there is no winter there.” – John Bunyan Click To Tweet

Like bears go through hibernation, some trees also go through a ‘resting state’ where they experience the loss of their fruit and “rest” while they prepare for the next season. The cold, the barrenness comes, and, when the warmer weather approaches, they begin to come alive and bud again with new life and new fruit!

Without that winter period, that time we look at as dreary and dark and cold, they would not produce the beautiful fruit we love so much in spring and summer!

Our Own Winters

As believers, we experience “winters” ourselves.

We go through trials and tribulations. We experience times that cause us to feel cold, alone, in the dark.

Maybe we prayed for an answer and God seems silent. Perhaps we experienced a loss and we feel alone and grieving. It could be that we feel God wants us to move in a situation but we haven’t yet gotten the guidance we are waiting for.

We are in our “waiting period“. We are in a period of silence, a spiritual “hibernation” if you will!

God, when will you answer? When will you tell me to move? Are you there? Do you not care that I am going through this?

We want to be effective believers but it is hard to feel effective when you are in your ‘winter’.

Bearing Fruit – Spring Always Follows

The Bible says in Psalm 30:5

Weeping may last for the night,

But a shout of joy comes in the morning


Just like our night does not last, our winter is never forever.

When God is silent, He never stays that way. When we go through times of hurt and grief, it gets better. Spring comes! Morning comes! The dark and the cold never last forever!

We can trust God is there with us.

God never leaves you where you are! He is just preparing you for your spring, for your morning!

Joy DOES come in the morning! And winter DOES end!

Just like our night does not last, our winter is never forever. When God is silent, He never stays that way. Click To Tweet

Pruning in the Bible

Like the fruit trees that cannot produce fruit without winter, we cannot bear good fruit if we never experience times of difficulty and hardship ourselves and learn how to lean on the provider of all things.

We can we speak into someone else’s life when they go through difficulties because we experienced a similar trial and we are able to share how God worked that out in us and what we learned from it.

We can share God’s miraculous healings or His provision when it seemed like there was no way!

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 says

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,


Even Jesus Himself experienced everything we experience so we know we have a savior who can identify with our adversity and pain and grief. He lost loved ones like we do. Jesus experienced pain and hurt. We have a God who knows what life is like for us.

In winter, it appears that the life around us (the trees, the grass, the flowers) are wasting away, yet inwardly they are being renewed day by day so when the spring warmth comes, they may burst forth in beauty!

Just like them, our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory in Him!

This “silent season” is a time where God is teaching us to lean more on Him and not try to do things on our own. To “rest” in Him so that, when it passes, we can go on to bring fruit into the lives of others!

This "silent season" is a time where God is teaching us to lean more on Him and not try to do things on our own. To "rest" in Him so that, when it passes, we can go on to bring fruit into the lives of others! Click To Tweet

Bearing fruit as a child of God doesn’t mean that your life is perfect all the time! God prunes us and cuts away the deadness so that new fruit can form!

John 15:2

“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.”


Without this pruning, without the old being cut away and room made for new growth, we cannot produce more fruit. 

Pruning in the Bible Shows His Love For Us

Pruning isn’t going to be pleasant most of the time. God wants our lives to reflect Him, not the things of this world.

Jesus talked about pruning in the Bible in John because He wanted us to understand it as an act of love.

When we go through trials and suffering it often brings out those areas of our lives we tend to run to and rely on instead of God. He flushes out those idols in our lives and helps us to release them and cling to Him.

Sometimes He needs to prune us to cut out the old parts of our lives that keep us from growing closer to Him and bearing fruit.

It could be people who cause us to go back to our old ways when we are around them. It could be old habits that we fall back on because they feel comforting to us. In relying on those habits it keeps us from resting in God alone!

 But when Jesus spoke of pruning in the Bible it is clear it is done with love.

The same way a gardener carefully prunes a tree or a plant with hopeful expectation of what will soon grow in its place, we can have that same hope for what God is cultivating in our lives when we allow Him to.

Once we understand that process, we can be proactive about the pruning process BEFORE hard times come, knowing bearing fruit will follow.

We can go to God and ask Him to show us any areas of our lives where we are carrying those old dead things around and say “Yes Lord, take this old deadness away and replace it with what pleases you and produces fruit in me!”

Then that beautiful fruit can spring forth in our lives for His glory and we can thrive when our winter is over and springtime is here!

Let’s Be Real

In the Bible, Jesus cursed the fig tree, not because it didn’t have figs. As I wrote in my post called, ‘Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree? – The Fascinating Answer“, I give this reason why this tree met with Jesus’ curse on it:

“In Israel, there are anywhere from two to three crops of figs per year. Each crop cycle goes through the same process.

The tree first produces its fruit and then leaves form. So if you see a fig tree with its leaves, one can assume its figs have already grown.

So Jesus, in verse 12, sees the fig tree at a distance and he spots that it has its leaves. He had every reason to believe it also possessed the fruit. However, upon reaching the tree, He saw only leaves.”

This tree gave Jesus the appearance of fruit but in the end, it was all a lie. It gave off the appearance of fruit to anyone who looked. But when they got close enough they could see it was all just appearances. It had no fruit.

This tree gave Jesus the appearance of fruit but in the end, it was all a lie. Click To Tweet

As you produce fruit for the Kingdom, it is important to be coming from the right place. It is important to have authenticity and not just do things because it is expected or to bring attention to ourselves, much like the Pharisees did.

Winter, along with God preparing us, as in the examples of pruning in the Bible, helps us maintain that authenticity because when we go through our own trials in an area, we can really identify with and want to help others who go through those same trials.

It helps us to see our reliance on God and not on ourselves. Otherwise, we could be producing what looks like fruit only to find it is only leaves. Only God can bring forth true fruit in us and He will do that as we submit to His pruning!

Be sure to sign up for your FREE Prayers and Scriptures for Effective Spiritual Warfare Workbook below as my gift to you!

Only God can bring forth true fruit in us and He will do that as we submit to His pruning! Click To Tweet

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

NASB – “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation

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  1. On this third day in a row of April snow, I’m smiling at the timing of this post.
    And also thankful for the reminder that even in the midst of cold, gray, dormancy God is at work in unseen but very crucial ways.

    1. Oh the snow! I’m actually up in New Hampshire right now and we’re heading home today. We’ve been up here since Sunday and the weather has been atrocious. It actually snowed yesterday. I’m so looking forward to getting home!! But it’s also a perfect example of how much more we appreciate the sun and the warmth when we go through those dark dreary days!

      1. Thank you so much for this. Very enlightening reading which was an answer to prayer as I meditated on Psalm1:1-3 and was pondering on what it means to “bring for his fruit in his season”

  2. This was an amazing read and such a great perspective adjustment. Reading this makes me so proud of the Christian I am growing into. I am on the right track and I thank God for His goodness.

  3. Yes! So often we think that bearing fruit is our “job” as Christians, but the bearing only comes as we abide in Him–He does the work in us and the fruit comes as a result. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Analogies with seasons make so much more sense to me than a lot of other things! Bearing fruit as a Christian is a great example, and you explain it so well, thank you!

  5. Wow wow wow!! I’d never heard this quote. What a concept. Thank you for sharing this and explaining about it so well.

  6. I’m a true warm-weather girl. But I tell others I pray not to be a fair-weather Christian. We live in an area that experiences all four seasons. Winter has always been my least favorite season. Yet, we see in all of Scripture the purposes for seasons and times AND fruit. Beautiful post.

    1. Thank you so much Karen! After living down south for a few years I’ve developed a new appreciation for winter! Not sure how long that will last though lol

  7. I grew up in California where we don’t really have season but I have the opportunity to live part time where we do have season. At first I didn’t appreciate the “ugly” seasons but I am learning how we need each season to prepare us for the next. I am loving watching the trees burst forward with life after looking pretty dead. I do am ready to jump forward after a season of winter. Thank you for your encouragement.

  8. The silent season is such a difficult place to be. Great post! Thanks for the reminders. Pinned and tweeted. Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  9. Great post, and I love the quote! It’s true, all the seasons are necessary. In winter, although we might not see growth, important growth is happening under the surface and I think that’s often true spiritually too!

  10. I learned so much reading through this, and am taking heart at the wonderful reminders of pruning being an act of love. 2 Corinthians 4 is one of my favorite chapters, so that verse especially made me smile in light of all you described. Amen and amen to all this!

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