March 16, 2020
All DayCategory: Lenten Devotional
Cutting and Pruning
“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).
How do we live productive and fruitful lives? There are many ways;a Google search on “self-help” produces over 4 billion results. The Bible uses an agricultural analogy with Jesus as the vine and we as the branches, but for branches to be fruitful they need to be cut and pruned annually. Reasons to prune include dead wood removal, shaping by controlling or redirecting growth, sustaining health, preparing for transplanting, harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. So, where do we need pruning in our lives?
One of the most impactful “prunes” in my life was the loss of employment after 22 years with the same company. My daily routine, my confidence, even my self-worth was all suddenly shaken. After a long period of relative self-reliance, I was forced to fully rely on God for provision for the next phase of my life. Although it took a year of many applications, interviews, hopes and disappointments, my current job arrived at the time I least expected it. Looking back, I recognize this as a significant time of pruning in my life during which my confidence and self-worth changed from what I do to, to whom I belong. It was not a pleasant time, and I would not wish it on anyone, but I can now say I am grateful that this happened.
Fortunately, not all pruning is so severe, but vine pruning is a regular event. This morning I read in Proverbs 3:11-12, My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.Since this experience I am more aware of pruning areas in my life and am also grateful to my IPC home group for their wisdom and guidance as we share our lives together during our regular home group meetings. The following quote is from our home group:
THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE ASK GOD TO
CHANGE ARE OFTEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES
GOD IS USING TO CHANGE US.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your love for us; help us to trust you with all our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding, but in all our ways to acknowledge you, knowing that you will make our paths straight. Amen.