The Value of Pruning
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” —John 15:8-11
Try to grow a lime tree in the desert, and you’ll learn the value of pruning.
Jesus said in John 15:1-2: “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.”
Who are the branches? We are, as Christ-followers. But what’s pruning? It’s cutting back a branch so it will bear even more fruit, and better fruit, later on.
The lime tree in question was in a man’s backyard in a hot, dry region of the country. The man thought the lime tree was doing so well — he was proud of it. Then one day he went out and it was about four inches tall. His wife, the senior gardener of the family, had hacked that thing back to within an inch of its life.
At first the man thought he had made his wife mad somehow, and she had taken it out on the poor lime tree! But no — it was just a skinny, flimsy little tree, and she wanted it to become a stout, strong one. Pretty soon, sure enough, it started coming back strong. It went on to produce superb fruit.
When God allows trials and tribulations to come into my life, He’s pruning me. He’s giving me a little pain now in order to grow my character so I can stand strong, no matter what, in the days to come. Who knows what challenge may befall me in a year … that I’m getting strong for now?
My prayer this week: God, I don’t like it, but keep pruning! I want my life to produce the best possible fruit — to accomplish absolutely as much as possible for the sake of your Kingdom.