Originally published Sunday, 24 July 2016.
I have two rose bushes growing outside my front door. Often, I take a little time to cut back the dead blooms. Last week I cut them so thoroughly that not one bloom remained. I took a step back to see if the bushes were evenly shaped. Accomplishing my task and without another thought about them, I turned to enjoy the sunset.
It’s the process of pruning that is needed in the caring of the rose bushes. If I didn’t cut back the spent blooms, the bushes would only bloom occassionally. The more you cut the bush, the more the blooms. It’s hard to cut back a perfectly green stem however, but it’s needed to help the bush thrive.
I’m learning how to abide in this season of resting and learning to have joy in the pruning. The fruit of the Spirit grows us best through the pruning process. God wants to cut away our inflated view of self and expand the view of Him and protect us from falling into a blown up view of our own importance. We are so easilty distracted with self-focus instead of releasing what God has put inside our souls.
Even the Holy Spirit does not glory Himself – Only Christ. It says in John 16:14 “However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you.”
Pruning is part of the rest process and achieves what only God sees. And this the part of the post where I tell you that it’s easy, and doesn’t hurt and you’re going to be okay, right? What I can tell you is that you are going to be okay and there is joy found in pruning and letting go, to let the Holy Spirit bear His fruit in you.
From my experience with pruning is our Gardner knows best which branches need to go, which will bear the best fruit or blooms, and what He has designed for each of us. And just like my cutting back the rose bushes, our Father prunes so that there will be even MORE fruit bearing. When you are pruined you have an over-arching purpose which matches the vision God has for you. John 15 digs into this truth down nicely.
Don’t forget the Gardner has a plan in the pruning – to give Him glory and to grow you into His good work and perfect you in the process. Something we know about pruning is it cuts away the dead branches, and we are good with getting rid of the dead parts but what about the branches that are still thriving? Sometimes it’s in the best interest of the plant to cut branches that aren’t dead) for the overall good of the plant.
And so it goes, there’s nothing easy about being cut or pruned. And it hurts to experience a loss of a growing branch. As His children, we grow in holiness. Holiness means living set apart for God. It’s the perfection process of our faith that sets us apart for Him. Consider it like a spiritual exercise where God stretches you to the potential He sees in you. Remember the focus isn’t on what we are losing or letting go of but instead for the real reason of our growth in Christ. What I know about life so far is that we grow the most in adversity and difficulties.
It’s in the adversity, the calamities, the cancer, and the chaos where we seek God the most. When we have to let go of our own strength and cling to His, that’s sharing His glory. When we prosper and become the masterpiece He designed, that’s bearing fruit in our lives.
Colossians 1:10 “so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”
It’s in the process that we grow. Sometimes the pruning hurts, and we suffer setbacks but it’s for the overall beauty of the plant and the sweetness of the fruit.