When I arrived home from work one day, I noticed a wildly overgrown branch on a rose-bush in our front garden. I hadn’t noticed the growth of this branch as it was happening. Suddenly, it was just there.
That one extra-long branch was detracting from the beautiful purpose of the rose-bush. So it had to go.
That one branch had grown longer and taller than the rest of the bush. It served no useful purpose. It had no flowers, and added nothing to the beauty of the rose-bush. It just stuck out and looked silly.
My wife must have noticed it too, because a few days later she cut it off.
We were not mad at the rose-bush. We did not want to hurt it or punish it. But that one extra-long branch was detracting from the beautiful purpose of the rose-bush. So it had to go.
“Pruning is a horticultural . . . practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant . . . . Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping, . . . improving or maintaining health, . . . and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. The practice entails targeted removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted tissue from crop and landscape plants.” (Wikipedia/Pruning).
Gardeners routinely use pruning to improve the health, appearance and fruitfulness of plants.
People Need Pruning Too
God is the master gardener. The Bible says that God the Father prunes unproductive things from the lives of His children to make them more fruitful (John 15:20).
The night before He was crucified, Jesus told His disciples:
I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.
John 15:1-8 (KJV)
God is the master gardener
God wants His children to be fruitful. So like a good gardener, He watches over us, cares for us, and prunes our lives. The Father’s pruning involves the targeted removal of things in our lives that hinder our fruitfulness.
God’s pruning is meant to improve us, not harm us. But that does not mean we will enjoy the process.
If this seems harsh, please understand that it is better to be trimmed than cut off entirely. Jesus said that those who abide in Him will bear fruit. So a lack of fruit demonstrates that one is not abiding in the vine of Jesus Christ (John 15:4-5). And if anyone does not abide in Christ, they will be thrown away as a branch and cast into the fire.
Pruning is meant to improve us – Not harm us
To prune or be pruned, that is the question
There may be a way to avoid being pruned by God. The way is prune our lives before God does. . . .
This is the first article in a three-part series. The next article will provide 7-Steps for pruning your life before God does.