- Renée Coventry
Life Lessons, Pt. 5: Pruning
Yesterday, we discussed tomato suckers that we need to prune from our lives effectively. The Lord is Master Pruner, diligently cultivating us to fruitfulness. I have an older apple tree in my yard, and this year Walter and Sam went out and removed the dead branches. While we removed many branches throughout the tree, I was sad to see my tree looking so forlorn. I was afraid it wouldn't bear any fruit this year.
However, when spring came, a fantastic thing happened. For the first time in several years, my apple tree was full of blossoms! I haven't seen it look so beautiful since we moved into our home, and despite the frost later in spring, we now have many, many baby apples all over our tree. I am so excited: applesauce, apple butter, apple pie, apple chips – the options are endless! The cutting away of what was dead prepared the tree to bring forth an abundance of life in this mature apple tree. The same is true spiritually.
According to Webster's 1828 Dictionary, to "prune" means to "lop or cut off the superfluous branches of trees, to make them bear better fruit or grow higher, or to give them a more handsome and regular appearance." We all have stuff that needs to be lopped from our lives. Nobody wants to bear the rotten fruit of the flesh. Instead, we desire to bear fruit worthy of the Kingdom of God. Additionally, we should expect consistent character, uniform in all that we do. Jesus said it this way: "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:2).
God will inevitably take out whatever doesn't bear fruit if you are in Christ. But, if you are bearing fruit, rest assured, you will be pruned – not because you are being punished, but because it increases your capacity to bring about mature fruit. We all have both types of branches. We all need to have dead things removed from our lives. But, praise God; we don't have to do it by ourselves! Our Faithful Pruner, the Holy Spirit, lives in us, convicting us, pruning us to be people who bear much fruit!
Faithful Pruner, thank You that You care enough about me to remove what is superfluous in my life so that I can bear much fruit. When I do, the possibilities with You are endless! I want to live and bring forth an abundance of life that brings nourishment to those around me. Please help me submit to the pruning process, even when it is difficult and painful, knowing that You have my best interests at heart. In Jesus' Name, amen.