Being fruitful (5)
We must allow the pruning process to happen. ‘He prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops.’ Pruning involves cutting off dead branches and cutting back living branches, and both processes are needed to shape the tree and encourage growth. Professional gardeners say that most people are too hesitant when it comes to pruning. But God isn’t. He not only cuts off the parts that are sinful and superficial, He cuts back some parts that are alive and successful; a job that’s going well, a satisfying relationship, or a plan that seems to be working out. God doesn’t just cut off the ‘bad’, but also the ‘good’, in order to give us the ‘best’. It’s not pleasant, but it’s absolutely essential for spiritual growth. God wants us to bear ‘much fruit’ (John 15:8) in our lives, so we're going to be pruned! We might be experiencing pruning right now, and it might not all be ‘dead wood’ that’s being removed. God cuts off things we view as productive so that more fruit can be produced in our lives, which can be really confusing. We believe we’re being faithful, so we're puzzled, and even frustrated, by His pruning. We might cry out: ‘Why are you doing this, God? I've invited You into my work, but it’s not going well. I've prayed about my health, but I'm still feeling unwell. I’ve been giving faithfully and I’ve tried to be generous, but now I'm struggling. What’s going on? What are You doing?' ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it’ (Hebrews 12:11 NIV). If things seem tough at the moment, it just might be that we’re being pruned for greater fruitfulness.
Thank God for His wisdom in knowing what to keep and what to cut away. Ask Him to help you be open to His pruning process in your life.
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