Pruning brings more fruit
Something wonderful has happened in our garden. After receiving the beautiful life-giving rain the plants are growing again! Thank you God. The boundary hedges are expanding upwards and outwards. So much so, that our gate had difficulty opening. The power from the protruding branches was almost too great for the electric motor. The gate shuddered as the electric motor pushed against the branches. Finally the breakthrough came and the gate continued on it’s path. When I observed this struggle I realised some pruning was required to ensure with the longevity of the gate motor! So out came the pruning shears and off came the branches. The gate is running smoothly now.
There are a few things we can draw from this gardening story …
God makes things grow
Firstly, while we planted the hedge plants, it is God who makes them grow, just as it is God who makes us grow …
After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 NLT
We are God’s workers, working together for His purposes. The Passion Translation says it this way,
I was the one who planted the church and Apollos came and cared for it, but it was God who caused it to grow. This means the one who plants is not anybody special, nor the one who waters, for God is the one who brings the supernatural growth. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 TPT
And we always need to remember that truth and as Micah 6:8 says,
Walk humbly in the company of your God. Micah 6:8 ISV
God knows the pruning plan
Secondly, God will discern when and how our pruning is required, and it will always be at the right time and in the right way. We need to trust Him.
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. John 15:1-2 NLT
How important is that cutting off of the branches that don’t produce fruit? In my garden example, if those branches hindering the gate’s movement had not been chopped then we would not have been able to get into our property. In a spiritual sense, we need that tidying up – cleansing – so we can enter into all God has for us – a relationship with Him for now and all of eternity.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22 NIV
Jesus enables us to live again
Yes, Jesus has done that cleansing for us. He enables us to live fully again, so we need to stay connected to Him.
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. John 15:5-8 The Message
As we stay connected to Jesus, and allow God to do the pruning, we can then confidently run the race set before us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
And that race may not be run quite as smoothly as my electric gate is running now, but with perseverance and the power of God, we will complete the race, in Jesus Name.
For some more thoughts on the benefits of pruning please visit this post … who likes pruning?