Erin and I have a knack for killing plants. We always start off with great intentions, but for some reason by the time mid-July hits, our flowers are usually long gone.
I remember one spring, several years ago, we planted some flowers in the front flower bed. We were so excited because we had miraculously kept them alive for a whole three weeks. They weren’t the most thriving-looking flowers, but at least they were alive.
One day my mother-n-law came for a visit. When I got home from work that day I noticed all of our flowers had been completely lopped off. My initial thought was, “She has ruined our flowers!”
Three days passed.
The flowers grew back, but not like before. They were better than before. They looked healthier, fuller, and stronger. The flowers were thriving through the process of pruning.
Pruning in Life is Hard.
It’s counterintuitive. How can subtraction lead to multiplication?
Jesus explains this phenomenon for us in John 15 when He says, “Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2b).
Why doesn’t Jesus say, “Every branch that bears fruit, He rewards.” Or “He plucks the branch and places in His fruit bowl in the kitchen for all to see what a great piece of fruit it is!”
He prunes it. He cuts it off from the branch.
When it comes to spiritual growth, there is no growth without pruning.There is no growth without pruning. Click To Tweet
Jesus explains that we are the branch. He is the vine, and the God the Father is the vinedresser.
God is the one working, shaping, and forming the branch to do what He has purposed for it to do.
Pruning is a temporary decrease that produces an eternal increase. Even though pruning feels like an immediate loss, in the long run it produces an eternal gain.
What to Expect?
There are a few things you can expect when it comes to the pruning process.
1. Expect it to hurt.
There really is no way around it. When God removes something from your life there will be pain involved. Sometimes it’s something good that He desires us to let go of. Sometimes He prunes a destructive habit we have been clinging to.
Remember, there is a difference between hurt and harm. God doesn’t prune to harm us. He prunes because that’s where growth happens.
2. Expect it to heal.
A plant heals when the wound closes. Sure, there is a scar, but the wound is closed up.
The same is true when God brings spiritual healing in our lives. He closes up the wound, the hurt, the pain. Sure there is a scar, but scars are just evidence of a story where healing took place.Scars are evidence of a story where healing took place. Click To Tweet
3. Expect it to help.
As God prunes and heals, the end result is growth in our lives. A dying plant is pruned in order to help it grow again.
Is there an area of your life that needs pruning? Is there something God is working to remove? Let me encourage you to welcome the pruning process. Allow the vinedresser to begin/continue the pruning work in your life. It’s where the real growth happens!