The Dictionary defines Pruning as “trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.”

The current economic recession has not been easy for many families; however, God has used this time of economic challenges to prune us – to strip away the non-essentials.  None of us like pruning, but we long for the resulting fruitfulness: to be more like Jesus and to make a difference for Him in this world.

Our culture is far removed from vines and branches – our food comes wrapped in cellophane or cardboard.  Unless we take a tour of Napa Valley, we may never even see a vineyard.  It is easy to forget that pruning is an essential gardening task that actually results in fruitfulness.

John 15:1-3 (NIV) says, “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.”

It is evident in the verse that both the Son and the Father share an active role in providing the daily nourishment needed to abide.  The Son is our connection or conduit to the Father, providing the means for life-giving nourishment to flow.  As we receive this nourishment from Christ, we produce fruit.  However, if a branch does not produce fruit, it is the Father, the vinedresser, that will initiate some pruning.

As material wealth is pruned, contentment, patience, and long-suffering have shyly unfurled like hesitant buds in the spring.  We are more compassionate towards the poor and more tenderhearted.  We are also more likely to pray for God’s daily provision and see what comes as gifts from His hands, not our own.  Our job is not to try to keep the Father from pruning but to always cling to Jesus – and trust Him.

Faith Step:  Where do you need to be pruned?  Where do you need to be lifted up or cleaned up so that you can be fruitful?  What practices do you have in place in your life to keep you clinging like a branch to a vine?

Pruning can hurt, but it will allow more of the light of God's glory and the wind of the Holy Spirit to regenerate our lives.

Heavenly Father, You have chosen to be the one who not only created us but also tends to us.  Like a shepherd and a gardener, you care for your people. Like sheep, we run away, and like a shepherd, you come after us. Like bushes and trees, we grow extra stuff that does not belong there, so you cut us back so we can be healthy and continue to grow. Pruning hurts. God, help us to accept the pruning for what it is: love. Your loving and tender care is about our best, not about what feels good. Help us remember that you want what is best for us. So, continue to prune us, so we can bear fruit.  Amen!

Written by Donnis Prass
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