This truth makes every believer cringe, at least a little: God’s PRUNING is an imperative in our life-long, never-ending journey toward SPIRITUAL MATURITY. Ouch.
“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
I have watched thousands of avocado trees get pruned and it looks like butchery every time. But it works. In every case the trees respond with new growth that boosts production. That is exactly what happens when our faith walk is interrupted by God’s pruning. One step back and two steps of spiritual growth forward.
The process and result of pruning each tree in an avocado orchard looks IDENTICAL. The work is methodical and consistent. But that is NOT the way it works for individual followers of Christ. Each of us is a unique soul and God’s pruning will never look exactly the same from believer to believer.
For me, most of my pruning has come from God revealing myriad IDOLS embedded in my quest for success and money early in my faith walk. Then there was my crash as a CEO when I allowed my man-made confidence and hubris take everything for granted. It was during that crisis that God showed me how much I wanted to control my life and make everything comfortable, if not perfect.
God was graciously pruning me by exposing what was resident in my heart.
We don’t aimlessly wander into spiritual growth and the sanctification (holiness) of our soul. It is never automatic and always takes an intentional effort by us to trust God to handle the pruning shears in a way that is in our best interests and always part of his plan and purpose for our life.
All of our experiences—good, bad, or indifferent—are important scenes in our life movie. We can either be sucked into the undertow or surf the waves God sends our way to turn the negative into a positive by allowing God to PRUNE us.
I thank God for his pruning that cuts down my focus on self and turns it on him. I ask him to help me use that pruning to live in a state of surrendered obedience that glorifies him and builds his Kingdom.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
What area of your life is God trying to PRUNE right now? Are you letting him do it?
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2–4