I thought I understood the need for pruning, at least in my head. I’ve read John Chapter 15:1-2 many times, and these are verses I know really well. However, the need for pruning came more powerfully to my heart just recently.
My wife and I are working hard in our garden, as we believe it’s right to downsize next year. Therefore, we’re undertaking a lot of work now, so there’s less to do next year. The latest phase of this work is to prune the shrubs, which have grown vigorously over the past few years.
Initially it was just a case of tidying them up, re-shaping them, and making them look nice. But we began to realise that this wouldn’t be enough, as they were just bushing out again. No, drastic pruning would be needed. So my wife started a major work on almost every bush in the garden. In the process we noticed a few things, which weren’t apparent to us before.
Firstly, although the end result looked extremely drastic, and we wondered if we were actually killing off the shrubs, we quickly found that new growth could be seen. Secondly, in the pruning process we saw that the heart of the bush was nothing but bare wood. The growth of its flowers and leaves was only on the outside. It looked vigorous, but the heart was empty of growth. The drastic pruning will now allow real growth to start again in the heart of the plant.
Perhaps God is doing some pruning in your life at the moment (or will shortly begin). You may wonder if Father really knows what He’s doing, as it can seem drastic. But He’s the master gardener, and knows just what to remove, and how far to cut it back.
He wants to take us back to what’s alive, and remove what’s dead, but unseen. In the process the reality of our heart relationship to him is going to be revealed. He wants a true, heart-to-heart relationship, and won’t be satisfied with anything else, and neither should we. The outward show of fruit or leaves, (such acts of service and church attendance) doesn’t impress Him. These things aren’t bad or wrong in themselves, but they must spring from renewed hearts.
The end result, painful though the process may be, is going to be so woth while. I see that in our own garden, and know it will be true in my life, and yours.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You truly are the master gardener. You know what to cut out, and cut back, and how far to go. You never make a mistake. The process is often painful, and frequently disconcerting, but You know that the end result will be that I bear much fruit for You. That is what I want to happen, so I open myself fully to Your pruning today, and say, “Have Your way, Lord”, Amen.
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