John 15:2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes it away. And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bring forth more fruit.
Do you love to garden? I would have to say that working in my flower gardens is one of my favorite things to do. This morning while I was doing a little watering I began to think about all the things I do to take care of my flowers. They bring me so much pleasure, so I spend extra time to make sure they look healthy and beautiful.
Of all the different plants and bushes I have, I would have to say that my rose bushes bring me the most enjoyment. About nine years ago I discovered these amazing rose bushes called ‘knock-out roses’. If you have ever seen one of these in full bloom, you know how and why they were given that name. They are loaded with beautiful red or pink blooms from March until November. And one of the greatest things about them is, they are very low maintenance.
Notice I said ‘low maintenance’ and not ‘maintenance free’. All gardens require care and attention, that is if you want them to thrive and look healthy.
There are weeds to pull, fertilizer to put down, and watering to be done. But there is still one more ingredient to making sure your gardens stay healthy – pruning…especially with these roses. Dave, my go-to-guy at a local nursery where I live, told me when I bought my knock-out roses that they actually love to be pruned. He said roses get angry when they are trimmed back and it causes them to grow even more. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it works!
See all these dead blooms? They need to be trimmed away.
Each time I trim off all the dead blooms and stray shoots almost immediately new growth begins to appear, producing more and more blooms.
As I was pruning them this morning, I realized the same principle applies in our spiritual life. If we are going to grow and be all that God wants us to be, we may need to do some pruning from time to time. Sometimes the pruning we need to do in our lives isn’t as easy as it is in our gardens….at least not for me anyway. It can be painful, but it is definitely worth it in the end.
Just over a year and a half ago the Lord began showing me some areas of my life that needed some attention (He actually started showing me long before that, it just took me longer to actually heed His prompting).
It started with getting rid of some old habits. I was ready to make some changes, so I didn’t find that to be too difficult. However, when it came to pruning away relationships that were creating problems in my life, that was a little more problematic. I knew there were some unhealthy friendships I had been holding onto, and I could sense He was nudging me to let go of them. As hard as it was, I knew He was right. But the most challenging of all was pruning away negative mindsets. Sometimes this is a daily battle.
We all have areas that need pruning: bad habits, negative influences in our life and even activities that are simply time stealers. All these things can and do hinder our relationship with God. Many of them keep us from spending time with Him or doing the job He has called us to do.
As soon as I started letting go of some of these things, I began to grow into a deeper relationship with Him. It has been amazing! I still have to constantly re-evaluate to make sure my spiritual life doesn’t develop weeds. And sometimes, when I let things go too long, I have to get on my hands and knees and do a little weeding and praying!
If we ever expect to bloom and be all Christ wants us to be, there will have to be a time of pruning! While it can be a painful and uncomfortable process, I think you will find it worth any temporary discomfort you endure!
Do you need to do any pruning?