Remember this mess? This was the tangled disaster that had wrapped itself around our flowering crab apple. What you see is chopped up pieces of four rose bushes that had stopped flowering and had started dying because they were choking each other. Our apple tree was the innocent victim stuck in the middle.
This bit of garden work sets me in mind of John 15. “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. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. ” John 15:1-3 NLT
In my circle we talk a lot about God’s pruning process and how necessary it is and how good it is and blah… blah… blah.
Like most things in the Christian life as long as we can talk about pruning and keep it in the realm of the theoretical we are fine. Let it get into the realm of the practical though and MAN we start whining and screaming like untuned Harley Davidsons.
Pruning stinks for the branch that is being cut. I can also tell you it is no picnic for the gardener! Had I been left with a choice I would have let the vines grow every which way to their heart’s content. I like the wild look. But I had no choice. The vines were killing themselves and they were killing other things in the process. My option was to let death spread or cut the death out and hope for new growth.
Our Father God is the same with us. He is not terribly concerned with how things look. But when once a branch in his garden starts killing itself or other branches, He sets to pruning and purifying.
My roses hated the pruning and they let me know. They came at me with thorns a-blazing. I was reminded about how I act in the pruning and purifying process . God starts to press me and I start sputtering, complaining, even arguing with Him.
How much time have I wasted refusing to submit to God in His pruning process. How much fruit have I forsaken just because I argued with Him and dug my thorns in to keep from changing?
He is the Papa who prunes and purifies. However painful the process is, I need it. You need it. Let’s agree together today to let God cut back the death in us and bring new life as he said through the message and our obedience to it!
What things has the gospel message pruned or changed in your life?