Thought– Pruning causes short term pain, that leads to long term gain.
Scripture– “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:5-8
Insight: In day 25 of learning to apply biblical principles to our daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider what it means to be pruned by God in order to achieve long term growth. In God’s kingdom, sometimes He must inflict a little short-term pain, to facilitate long term gain. I have never been much of a gardener nor have I ever worked in a vineyard before, but I do understand the concept of pruning. The idea of removing something that is dead or withered or counter-productive to make room for something fresh and new and invigorating makes perfect sense to me. God is the perfect Gardener and He knows just where to prune so that new growth can occur. Many times, we expend or waste energy on areas of our life that simply drain us. They are dead ends that provide no growth for us. God needs to prune those areas of our lives so that we can invest more energy into the areas of our life that do provide growth for us. The pruning can include relationships, businesses, habits, investments, distractions or various other things.
We must realize that sometimes good can be the enemy of great. God always wants us to reach full maturity in our walk with Him, and so sometimes He may find it necessary to prune us in certain areas of our life where we feel we are doing ok, but where He has a better plan. While it seems painful during it, the purpose of pruning is not punishment, but rather future growth. Like a branch needs to be attached to its power source of the Vine, so to we need to be attached to our power source of Christ, through the “Vine” of the Holy Spirit. When God prunes us, it is always to remove areas of our life that are keeping us from a more intimate relationship with Him. Pruning is the key to us becoming a beautiful vineyard, bearing much fruit for His Kingdom vs. a withered, old grape with no value at all.
Prayer: Father God, we know that while pruning never feels good, it is always intended for our growth. Help us to not see pruning as a sign of your anger or disappointment with us, but rather as a sign of your love by which you want to help us to grow. As our wise Father, you know what we need most of all, even when we don’t see it. Thank you for how much you love us Lord. Amen!