The hardest thing for any of us to accept is God’s pruning knife. Cutting away what we have produced or what appears to us as acceptable, is painful. We feel that our efforts have been wasted and the appearance of our lives will look bad to others. While these feelings are humanly understandable, they ignore some factors that are far greater than our disappointment.
God our Father, the Vinedresser, sees with divine precision and with eternal perspective. He knows what we do not know or understand. He sees far more than outward appearances. Paul warned the Colossians about those who “have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:23). Fruitfulness never comes from the flesh of man; only the work of the Spirit.
We may be producing fruit, but God’s desire is to take our lives and shape them through pruning so that they produce even more fruit. This tests our willingness to trust Him without questioning the method, timing or length of His pruning process. The more we learn the Father through intimacy with the Lord (John 14:8-9), the more we will trust His sovereign hand in every detail of our lives.
Sometimes the pruning takes place in areas of our families, work, church, health or finances that we do not expect, at a time that seems inconvenient, or for a length and degree of reduction that seems unfair. Listen again to the words of Jesus; “every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Pruning is never for punishment! Remember the words in Hebrews? “The Lord disciplines the one He loves” (12:6). It is part of the Father’s nature to prune with love each one connected with His Son, the Vine. Thank Him rather than complain.
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