Pruning Is a Good Thing

PRUNE: To trim by cutting away dead and overgrown branches and stems, especially to encourage growth and fruit-bearing.

A few years ago, I planted several apple trees. One in particular grew much faster than the others, but proved to be the most susceptible to disease. After researching the malady, I discovered that cutting out the diseased portions could help alleviate, but not cure, the problem. Furthermore, the information indicated that if the disease was systemic, the tree would likely never thrive.

For the next few years, I kept pruning and pruning the dead portions of the tree. Remarkably, it did eventually bear a few apples; however, they were somewhat deformed. Finally this year, the tree was so full of fruit that we needed to add two supports. Little did I know that pruning merely to keep it alive, would actually make it thrive!

It is not difficult to grasp that the process of pruning my tree could visibly illustrate a well-known Bible passage:

Indeed, the Lord spiritually prunes his children—never to harm them—but to cause them to bear fruit abundantly for the sake of his kingdom. We will not merely survive, but thrive, living life abundantly as Jesus came to provide.

Our Father prunes us (corrects; disciplines; sanctifies) in order that we abandon any thoughts, words, or actions that hinder fruitful, Christ-like living. I kept pruning my little apple tree for years without giving up on it; but infinitely greater than my efforts, is the loving and never-failing pruning process carried out in our lives by our Heavenly Father—He never gives up on us! Furthermore, God’s pruning power is greater than any sins that interfere with our good fruit-bearing—the most ingrained (“systemic”) fleshly “disease” is no match for His faithful, wise pruning. May we surrender to this process—regardless of any pain or discomfort that may be involved; because when all is said and done, “Herein is [our] Father glorified, that [we] bear much fruit” (John 15:8).