I just finished doing a job that I dislike intensely – pruning my apple tree. For years I would prune the apple tree without experiencing any fruit for my labour – apples! For years my apple tree was fruitless. I was so frustrated and discouraged that I was on the verge of cutting it down. Providentially several years ago an arborist (that’s a tree pruner guy) taught me the correct way to prune. What a difference. Today the tree is apple prolific.
Pruning is cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems to increase fruitfulness and growth. Jesus teaches us about pruning. “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” John 15:1-2
Pruning is cutting away the things in our life that that are not producing fruit and the things in our lives that are out of control. Cutting away things that distract you from following Jesus. Things that drain you of desire and devotion to Jesus. Pruning is also cutting back good things to strengthen and shape your spiritual life so that you will become even more fruitful.
No matter how you “cut” it pruning is a difficult and often painful procedure. The goal is to become more and more like Jesus. The goal is that our love will overflow more and more. The goal is that we will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. The goal is that you will “always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” Philippians 1:11