I was sitting on the porch New Year’s Day enjoying the misty, rainy afternoon. I noticed my perennial butterfly garden was in need of some work. There were some plants still green and looking good. But most were in need of a good trim.
I’ve been asking the Lord to do a new work in my heart and life as I begin this year—to show me areas of my heart and life that are not pleasing to Him. What needs to go? What needs to remain? What needs to be pruned so greater growth can take place?
We read in John 15:2…
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Pruning. Ugh! Honestly, not my favorite thing to do in the yard. But it’s necessary—just ask any green-thumbed gardener or horticulturist (I am neither). If you want beautiful rose bushes with beautiful blooms that are not “leggy and unattractive”, then you have to take the time to prune. If I want beautiful blooms in my perennial bed come Spring, then pruning needs to take place.
Here are five reasons for pruning plants and shrubs in your garden (straight from Wikipedia):
- removal of the deadwood
- shaping or directing growth
- improving or maintaining health
- preparing plants for transplanting or harvesting
- increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits
Much like the necessary pruning in my flower bed, the Lord’s pruning in my life has purpose.
Removal of the deadwood —Yep! Definitely got that in my life, otherwise known as sin. I am so very grateful God does not leave me in my sin!
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. —Ephesians 2:1-6
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. —1 John 1:8-9
Shaping or directing growth — God is always working to make me more like Jesus. Thank you, Lord!
…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. —Colossians 3:10
And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…—Romans 8:27-29
Improving or maintaining health — God’s pruning removes those unhealthy thoughts and attitudes in my heart and life.
Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. —Psalm 119:36-37
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. —Psalm 19:14
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. —Romans 12:2
Preparing plants for transplanting or harvesting — It’s so easy to get stuck in the comfortable and convenient. I love that the Lord is always pruning and refining me toward His kingdom work and His plan for my life.
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. —John 15:8
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…—John 15:16
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. —Philippians 3:8
Increasing yield or quality of flowers —When I yield to His holy pruning shears, He will bring about an increase in the fruit of my life, not only in my character but in the impact I might have on those around me.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control; against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. —John 13:35
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. —Colossians 3:17
As we read through John 15, we find a repeated word that is key not only to our pruning and growth but also provides a great blessing:
Abide is a word that means to remain, to stay, to dwell. In John it’s used to refer to remaining united with someone, in heart, mind and will.
This is one of the greatest blessings of God’s pruning in our lives. It draws us to Him! We experience the joy of being in His presence and knowing Him in even greater ways—such a sweet spot!
For Further Study: Read through John 15 and note all that you learn about God’s pruning, the reasons and the results. I’d love to hear what you discover. Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Copyright ©2017 Susan Cady, susancady.com