I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. (John 15:1-2)
When have you experienced the pain of pruning something from your life?
When have you experienced the benefits of pruning something from your life?
Are you more likely to lop something from your life quickly or slowly saw something out of your life?
Anyone who has spent time in any kind of gardening or farming knows the importance of pruning. Unhealthy growth gets in the way. It spoils the healthy growth. But pruning isn’t easy. Sometimes it makes a plant look odd, even ugly for a time. We’d rather see beauty, so we might avoid pruning. Sometimes it’s difficult because the plant is strong. A tree might be nourishing limbs that are taking too much nourishment away from the larger limbs. They are strong as a result, but the limbs that you want to be strong are not. You’ll need something powerful to do the pruning.
When we prune plants, we usually try to use the quickest way possible. We know we need to get a clean cut in order to keep trauma to a minimum. The more invasive we are, the more negatively we impact growth. Yet when it comes to our own pruning, we often choose a slower, gradual approach. We try all kinds of things to minimally prune. “What if I just get rid of this a little bit? What if I still maintain a little contact although the relationship is unhealthy? I can handle the temptation. It’s not as bad as you think.” And if that’s how God is guiding, He will give the strength to deal with ongoing challenges. But sometimes, I wonder if He’s watching, shaking His head, wondering why we don’t just lop something off and get on with our lives so that we can grow. Why would we choose to use a dull saw blade to cut something out of our lives, when He’s given us sharp shears?
Just because we use the sharp shears doesn’t mean we don’t feel the effects. Pruning hurts, if only for a moment. Then we have an adjustment period, when we feel unbalanced with something missing. It’s as if our metabolism is temporarily messed up, and we have to find a new normal. We take new paths. We fill the created gaps, and we can just as easily fill them with unhealthy growth as we can with healthy growth. For that, we have to rely on God. When we let Him do the pruning, we let Him control the growing, too. We work together.
Look for something that needs to be pruned. It might be a plant, or it might be a messy drawer in your house. Take on at least one personal pruning project today.