Purposeful Pruning
Devotional

Purposeful Pruning

April 15, 2024

Purposeful 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

A few years ago my husband and I redid our landscaping. In the process, we planted a small tree. At the first sign of blossoms this year I was reminded to look into the best pruning time. Research shows that this type of tree should be pruned right after it is done flowering. You can prune it in two ways through maintenance or rejuvenation pruning.

Maintenance is done mostly for shaping. It is nothing huge but still promotes healthier growth. Rejuvenation pruning on the other hand requires drastic measures. 1/3 of the stems are cut down each year for 3 years. This type of pruning can seem harsh but it is better for the tree in the long run. The process takes time, and isn’t always pretty but the results are worth it.

In John 15 Jesus compares our lives to that of plants. Jesus declares “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.” (John 15:1) He uses this language because his audience had intricate knowledge of grapevines. For a branch to survive it must be solidly connected to the main vine. Jesus is declaring himself the true vine. Each of his followers must be connected to him for life. Without him we wither like a branch with no source. But Jesus doesn’t stop there. Our Heavenly Father prunes the vines for their continued growth. For a branch to fully produce all that it can, it must be pruned.

As Christ followers we must first be connected to our true vine. We should find our hope, life, motivation and peace in Jesus alone. But we also need to expect pruning. Our Lord lovingly molds our lives to make us more like him. That process isn’t always easy, and sometimes it is painful, hard and confusing.

Like our tree, there are seasons where our pruning may be “maintenance level”. Where God is slowly removing bad habits, changing our thought patterns, or gently challenging us to shape our lives in small ways. But other times the pruning is more like “rejuvenation”. Where it feels like much of our life is cut back, the pain is great and we are left asking why.

In those seasons, it is hard to understand but we can trust our gardener. He will work good out of the pain and promote our growth even if we can’t see it in the process. God is constantly working through the pruning that takes place in our lives. When we remain connected to our Savior in the process, God is glorified and our hearts are transformed to experience the joy of the Lord even in the hard times (John 15:11).

Take a minute to look outside this week and examine the plants around you. Think about what it takes for them to grow, and then reflect on your Savior. Are you connected to Jesus as your one source of life? What could you do to reconnect to the “true vine” this week? Have you experienced periods of pruning? How has God brought growth through the pruning process?

Prayer

Heavenly Father we thank you for the reminder that you alone are our source of life. May we not try to grow on our own, but realize our deep need to be connected to you first. When we face seasons of pruning, give us the strength and grace to stay connected and trust your presence with us. It is in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Makalah Scholten
Spiritual Care Coordinator

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