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Trees, pruning, and piles of debris

May 30, 2007

I spent this weekend learning about pruning. Through hours of work on some predominantly untamed land using a weed whacker, clippers, chain saw, and my two hands I took down several hundred trees, dozens of bushes, and thousands of branches. During this time God showed me many things about how he prunes our lives. (I have found physical labor and a willing heart are more effective than a good therapist!)

When you prune the main action is to cut away, but there are several reasons for doing this. It may be to create new growth, to control growth, to reveal things that can’t be seen because of the existing growth, or to remove dead or unhealthy portions. There is truth in the fact that a tearing down or cutting away has to happen before rebuilding and growth can begin. Spiritually, God uses pruning to remove things from our minds, our actions, and our past in an effort to change us for the future. Though painful, pruning can create help us to grow stronger.

Pruning can reveal wonderful new options and opportunities, but as I learned this weekend it leaves a trail of pruned off material that needs to be dealt with. It took far less time to prune the unwanted things away than it did to clean up the mess afterwards. Sometimes the cleanup work can be even more costly, time consuming, and painful than the actual pruning when God wants to prune and change something in our lives.

Is there anything in your life that God wants to or needs to prune? Are you allowing him access to do that work? It may be a difficult process, but the benefits of growth, change, and life that come from it are worth the cost. Let God, the gardener, do his finest work in you! He loves you so deeply that he wants to see you reach your greatest potential.

Jesus said, “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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is 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 given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:1-8)

P.S. Listening to Pastor Rob Bell from Mars Hill teach about what we are supposed to leave behind and what is causing brokenness in our relationship with God while pruning adds to the experience!

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