Today looking out at our back garden, I am met with the brilliant sight of our rose bush in full bloom. There must be over 100 buds all over the bush, with many others already flowering.
However if we were to go back a few months, that same rose bush was a stick! I had pruned it as far back as I dared, removing dead wood and stems that were in the way, and some that were crowding the rest of the plants ability to get sunlight and fresh air. For a while I just had a brown “stick” adorning my back garden, with not a new shoot or bud in sight.
Pruning is something all gardeners know about, but which many of us don’t readily wish to experience or apply in our own lives. Usually we run as fast as possible the other way at the very thought!
Jesus Himself talked about how important pruning is. He said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2)
Jesus is the vine, and if we follow after Him, and His way of living and doing life then we are like the branches. Papa, our Heavenly Father, is the gardener. He is the one who prunes us; He prunes the dead wood from our lives, where we are going in the wrong direction or have excess distractions, and even the parts of our lives that are fruitful. He prunes it all; the things that take away from who we are, our tangled messes. Even the good stuff needs to be routinely cut right back so that we will lead healthier and more fruitful lives.
Nobody likes pruning time. I don’t like pruning rose bushes – they tend to attack you. And we as people most definitely don’t like God pruning us! We often act like my rose bushes, scratching and bringing out our spiky bits in an effort to keep God, and anyone else He might send to help and teach us, well away.
Nevertheless, our Heavenly Father is a great “gardener”. He puts up with a lot, and has promised that He will perfect that which He started in us. He will continue to seek to finish making each of us the masterpiece He envisioned and created us to be.
Today be encouraged. If you are feeling like you are under the pruning knife, trust God to do what He needs to do, to bring the best out in you. Just as my recently pruned rose bush is now blooming, and is something to behold, you were also made to display His splendor, and be a sight to behold!
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3-4)
Don’t fight, but invite God to come and cut away any unnecessary things in your life. To remove, trim, and simplify if need be every area. Let Him examine your whole being so that He can bring the best out in you. Yes, it may well be uncomfortable, but if you let God have His way in your life you will look back and say, “Look what the Lord has done. He’s finishing what He started in me”.
Prayer: Lord thank you that you are faithful, and you never give up on me. Help me to allow you to more easily finish what you’ve started in me, even when it may hurt. I choose to trust you to prune my life, knowing you promise it’s worth it. In Jesus name Amen.