Over the past couple of years, I have really enjoyed the process of gardening, and while I am still very much a novice, I have noticed a couple of things.
I always knew that trees were pruned to encourage new growth. However, I never quite realised just how much of the plant you can prune without killing it.
To watch how the plant almost resurrects itself after pruning is quite amazing and then watching the fruit grow has been a great learning process for me. Often the fruit is even more delicious and abundant then it was before pruning back the tree.
Why are trees pruned?
“Proper pruning encourages strong growth, increases flower and fruit production, improves plant health and removes damaged limbs, all of which give aesthetic appeal to a tree” (treecaretips.org).
This definition coupled with experiencing what happens after pruning fruit trees has given me a fresh revelation in relation to spiritual pruning.
In John chapter 15 Jesus speaks of being the true vine, and the Father, as the gardener.
“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.”
It makes sense that ‘dead’ branches that aren’t producing fruit will be cut away but what really sparks my curiosity is the fact that even if we are producing fruit in our lives, we are still going to be attended to by the master but in a way that will produce more fruit for his kingdom.
Either way our Father, the master gardener, will remove things from the vine. And he does this out of his love for us and wanting the best for us. He wants our character and faith to be strengthened and his kingdom to grow.
What are some ‘branches’ that may need to be pruned?
If we ask the Holy Spirit to show us anything that needs to be pruned from our lives, I believe he will show us. This will differ for each of us but some things that come to mind and areas where I have been pruned are some bad habits, wrong attitudes and mindsets, pride, selfishness, stubbornness, impatience, and fear. I believe it will be anything that competes with God and his ways and his values. It is a continual and lifelong process.
Further in the passage Jesus says,
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” (John chapter 15 verse 4).
This is the only way to produce fruit for him.
We must continue to abide in him. To know and live his word and to have an intimate relationship with him. We cannot do it alone.
A grape branch can be taken off a tree and planted. It will grow and will look naturally beautiful and healthy, but it will not produce grapes. It must be grafted to a healthy and mature root stock to draw from the source all that is necessary to produce fruit.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John chapter 15 verse five).
May we remain in him and produce much fruit for the kingdom of God!
Jo Fuller lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast with her husband, son and daughter. Jo is a teacher with an education in journalism and early childhood who loves to spend time with her family and enjoys reading and writing whenever she can.