Saturday, April 30, 2022

Pruning Your Life

Listen to this lesson on my new weekend devotional podcast Gleams of the Morning

“Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:2‬ ‭(WEB‬‬)

Pruning has long been a practice used to shape and direct the growth of plants. Some people mistakenly believe pruning is necessary. It’s not. Plants will grow well enough without regular pruning by humans. Pruning is beneficial when you desire specific results for example, with fruit bearing plants. Pruning fruit trees and berry plants will regulate growth, increase yields, improve fruit size and quality, and maintain plant health and vigor.

This has a direct lesson for our spiritual lives. Spiritual pruning is unnecessary to attend church or call oneself a Christian. But if you desire to grow into the person God knows you can be, if you want to bear fruit for the kingdom and increase that yield, if you want to have a healthy Christian walk, pruning is vital. Pruning our character is how God directs and shapes us into Christ's likeness.

One of the first points to learn about pruning a tree is that you want to remove competing leader stalks. Trees sometimes have a fork near the top and the two branches that point to the sky are competing to be the central stalk of the tree. A single stalk running up the center of the tree is best for the trees durability. One of these leaders will usually be the biggest. The other weaker ones just consume resources and create an unnecessary distraction for the tree. 

Likewise, in our spiritual lives we need to work to remove all competing leaders in our lives. There is only room for one. We cannot follow Jesus while also trying to follow other men. We need to work together with the Holy Spirit to identify and prune other leaders that are trying to distract us from Christ. These can be celebreties, friends, even religious leaders. Individuals who we come to idolize more than Jesus will keep us from becoming like him. We need to prune those who would lead us away from Jesus. 

Questions to Discuss or Ponder

What habit in your life is Jesus calling you to prune?
Is there a habit or relationship that you pruned from your life in the past that you are glad is gone?
Have you ever encouraged a friend or family member to prune something from their life? Did they listen? If not perhaps you should try again. 

Written by David F. Garner
Photo credit: Ivan Samkov