[Video: A Pruning by Any Other Name]
When Gina and I bought our house, we fell in love with the landscaping. The previous owners meticulously designed the property to bloom in cycles. This created a seasonal adventure in our own yard, allowing us to see something new blooming nearly every week. Never having owned a house before, I didn’t know much about gardening. What I can tell you (now that I know what they are) is that the Knock Out Roses in the back were completely out of control.
Everything I read told me to prune the rose bushes all the way down—basically to the stubs. But I couldn’t imagine how that could be good for the plant, so I just cut off the excess and made them look pretty. The result was that the bushes were not nearly as healthy. They struggled because I was looking at short-term aesthetics over long-term growth.
We have to be careful we don’t let that happen in our spiritual lives. Being transformed to be more like Jesus is a process of continual pruning. We don’t like the idea of pruning; it sounds too harsh. We’d prefer to call it trimming or gardening. But a pruning by any other name still results in God cutting unhealthy things out of our lives. Consider what Jesus told His disciples:
“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.” (John 15:1-2 NLT)
There’s something very interesting about that passage. There are only two options. You can be cut off, or you can be pruned. There’s no option to remain the same. Like my rose bushes, our idea of spiritual pruning is often more about short-term aesthetics than long-term growth. The question then becomes, are we willing to let the Gardener prune us back far enough to produce fruit?
How do you sense God pruning areas of your own life?