“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.John 15: 1-4
“Pruning is a horticultural practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping (by controlling or directing growth), improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for transplanting, and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. “ -Wikipedia
I have a plant that I have had for a number of years. I bought it as a small plant and now it is in a very large pot. Through the course of those years I have pruned it because it had become scraggly and tired looking or in some cases had contracted mealy bugs which were sapping its growth. My goal was not to hurt my beloved plant, but to help it to reach its fullest potential. I am sure to my neighbors that were passing by as I sat on the front porch with my sharp scissors and was whacking away at the plant, it may have seemed cruel. One may have asked “What are you doing to that lovely plant?” To which I would reply “Actually making it better.”
To the natural eye it looked like a disaster area with cut off leaves and vines strewn all over the porch and me like a mad woman going at it with my scissors! But it was not as it appeared…I actually WAS doing good. J . Each time that I pruned it, it looked pitiful after I had cut it down almost to the rim of the pot…but I always knew that it would come back, stronger and more beautiful than ever.
In the 14th chapter of John, Jesus is preparing the disciples for His departure that is soon to come, it carries over into the 15th chapter as He explains to them that as long as they remained in Him by following and teaching what He showed and taught them, they would be fruitful (fulfilling their purpose from God). He also added that even if they were already doing what they should, there still would be a time of pruning, so that they could do even more good.
The pruning processes in our lives may include the following: the removal of some persons, things or habits, these persons, things or habits may be a deterrent to our spiritual growth. These things may distract us from getting to know who God is, to know His character, to know what it is that HE wants for our lives. Sometimes I believe God will remove YOU from a place and allow you to sit quietly before Him. Doesn’t mean that you will sit alone in a house all by yourself, not going to work or anywhere! WRONG! But He allows you for a time to separate yourself so that you can learn how to hear and discern His voice.
If we are being honest, we all know the things in our lives that are not pleasing to God. No one has to hold up a sign in bold letters to tell you what they are for Pete’s sake. We know…
Well those are the things God wants to remove from us, because they are hindering our growth into becoming all that He has purposed for our lives.
Some pruning is voluntary, that is when you recognize and acknowledge the things not pleasing to God and begin to allow Him to help you remove them from your life. And then there is the involuntary pruning. The pruning that comes when I personally believe, He has brought it to our attention over and over again and we do nothing and finally it comes bursting out of the seams of the coverage we have tried to place over it and most of the time it is to our embarrassment. When I read headlines about someone whose secrets have been revealed, I used to walk around in disbelief for about a month thinking this can’t be true! But now I have confidence that my Father surely had warned them over and over again until finally He let them handle what they could not and it burst from the seams. I pray for myself that I never allow it to ever get to that point in my life. That though it may be unpleasant and uncomfortable to see myself and my shortcomings, that I will submit to God, and allow Him to prune me…Oh God help us all.
His goal is not to hurt us, or to hold us back, but to help us to reach our fullest potential on this earth…
After a pruning you may feel a little vulnerable, a little lost, not know what to do, where to go. Just know that He is with you and will NEVER forsake you, come to Him. Jesus is the vine that is the source for all the sustenance we need to grow and flourish. And when God prunes, though we may look and feel pitiful, HE knows that we are coming back stronger and more beautiful than before!