Re-post: Pruning

NOTE: This was the most-viewed post this past week! – Ed

[Jesus said], “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:2

I have a raspberry bush in my backyard, thanks to my friend John.

I planted it there three years ago. It has grown and flourished and produced sweet, succulent red raspberries – and always more the next year than the last.

But it will only do so if I prune it back in the fall, after the growing season has ended.

I was very surprised to learn just how much I had to prune it in order for more fruit to grow the following year. I had to cut it till it was nearly all gone – at least to my eye.

The first time I did that, I thought to myself, “There’s no way this will come back, grow, and produce fruit.”

But it did. Boy, did it ever!

When John brought the original plant over, it was just this little, scrawny thing.

But this raspberry bush is now so much bigger and producing so many more raspberries!

For certain times of plants, it is vital that they be pruned in order to produce more fruit or flowers.

Raspberry bushes, grape vines, and rose plants all need to be pruned in order for more growth to happen the following season.

Thankfully, the plant doesn’t have sentience that can feel the cuts made. They don’t “hurt.”

Jesus uses the analogy of pruning for the growth of his disciples. He says that to make us produce more fruit – that is, to be growing in our faith – he will prune us.

Unfortunately, unlike plants, our pruning can be unpleasant and even hurt!

In a recent team ministry devotion it was asked of us, “What was it like to be pruned by God?”

One of our team members answered for all of us!

“It hurt!”

God allows bad things, hurtful things, and unpleasant things to come into our lives. Sometimes these are additions and sometimes these are subtractions.

The prime Biblical example is the Old Testament character Job.

God “pruned” Job by allowing his wealth to be taken away from him and by allowing the death of his ten children. God also “pruned” Job by given him sores and boils and deteriorating health.

Yet it all this, Job grew stronger in his faith in God. He even became so bold as to question God and his plan for Job! You can read more about Job in the series of devotions on Job here (soon to be available in book and ebook form!).

No pruning in our lives is pleasant to go through while we’re going through it. But I pray that as you look back over past prunings in your life you’ll see how much growth and fruit you’ve been able to produce for God and neighbor because of it!

Almighty and merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and afflictions before we ultimately enter in glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to your holy will and see your hand in pruning us so that we are strengthened in our faith and that we will remain in the truth faith. May we know your joy and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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