I know the title gives a tall order for this post. But that know-how is necessary for spiritual growth. In order to bear fruit we need to be pruned. But we don’t like it. We don’t like to get hurt. So we resist it. But that leaves us in spiritual limbo. And that is not a desired state of being. Not from our point of view and not from God’s point of you. What to do then?
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. (John 15:2, AMP)
God wants that we find our purpose in him. God wants us to flourish in his care. But God wants not only that we bear fruit but that we bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
All spiritual life and spiritual growth is totally dependent on God’s grace. Any fruit bearing only happens when we are abiding in Christ. The more fruit we want to bear, the more dependent we need to be on God’s grace.
But living in grace is not all fun and games. Enter pruning. Sure, we don’t like that. We’d rather live wildly and as we please than let anyone prune us. But pruning is as necessary to a disciple of Jesus as it is to a fruit tree. There is no way around it.
If we want to continue to grow in grace and bear much fruit and bring more glory to God, we need to stop resisting pruning. Because God does not work in us without our consent. How can we learn to not resist pruning?
The short answer is grace but that’s not very practical or helpful in that sense. Except it eases the burden to perform. It’s not about us. It’s about God’s powerful grace.
Another thing that eases our mind is to realize pruning does not necessarily mean that we had done anything wrong. Pruning is just part of spiritual life and it improves overall spiritual health and strength. In that sense it is a blessing.
The more I’ve gotten to know God, the more I trust that he always has my best interests in mind. Also when it comes to pruning. In order to be able to become what God wants me to become, something needs to go. In order to be able to serve God in ways beyond my imagination, some superfluous things and wild growth in wrong directions need to be cut.
The more we lean on grace, the easier it is to surrender to be pruned.
(And if you can’t surrender, give that to Jesus. It’s all grace anyway.)
The less we fight against pruning, the faster it will get done.
The more willing we are, the gentler the experience is.
And the gardener is never closer to branches than when he is doing the pruning. Learning to experience God’s loving presence when times are tough is priceless. Learning to praise God while being pruned produces even more juicy fruit in the future. And when we learn to embrace pruning as a gift, we learn to not resist it but welcome it.
We praise you for knowing what’s good for each of us.
We praise you for times of pruning, times of growth,
and times of bearing fruit.
We welcome them all.
May your will happen in and through our lives.
May we bear much and excellent fruit for you.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: How have you learned to not resist pruning?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you trust your care to the Lord!
Image courtesy of Jesse Michels, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Hear it on Sunday, use it on Monday, and counting blessings with Ann Voskamp: #1028 Pruning is a blessing in disguise.