Have you thought much about pruning? As a gardener I have frequently pruned plants when they were thin and scraggly in order to help them grow bushier.

This plant had grown long and leggy and was starting to drop a lot of leaves.

God pulls out His pruning sheers and does this same thing in our lives. You may have felt it personally, as I have. In John 15:1-3 it tells us that God 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.”

God has a plan to make your life bear more fruit. His plan may include the pain of pruning. You have probably noticed that it does not feel good; it is sharp and cutting and feels like a period of suffering. We either submit to His pruning willingly with a prayer, “Lord, remove anything in my life that is offensive to You, or anything I have made an idol. Do whatever it takes to put me on the path of Your perfect will.” This is a difficult prayer because you know He will do it. He will cut, remove, and sharply change things.

The other way we have pruning in our life is not because we prayed and asked for it. Sometimes it comes sharply just because He is in control, He is the Gardener. He may change our circumstance, we may lose our job, or He moves us to another place. Some pruning is the normal transitions in life like losing a parent, or missing our children when they go off to college. In whatever form it occurs, it is meant for growth. It is not meant to make us miserable, bitter Christians. We have to decide to grow from our pruning. He may close one door to force us into the next season or opportunity. No one said it would be easy, these seasons generally come with tears, with some clinging and holding on to the past until the Lord grabs our hand and says, “Let go. Move on. Trust Me.” Just hold on to His goodness and move forward.

This branch’s main stalk was cut, and you can see four new branches forming.

Ultimately, God desires fruit. Pruning helps us grow thicker and fuller, but also enables us to have fruitful lives. This looks different for everyone. For some people, it is success in business. For others it is our ministry, or growing with new friends. It may be that we embrace a new city or new job or we get to reach out to others in different ways. Sometimes pruning is merely for drawing us deeper in our walk with the Lord; He is jealous for us. We end up more intimate and in love with Him as our fruit, our joy and our passion.

The four new branches have become thick and full.

Whatever the cost of pruning, we need to look for the good that may come out of it and go forward. As you can see with this plant, it only made it fuller and richer. God is the Gardener. Trust Him with your life, and He will do abundantly more than you can imagine.

I put the tops into the soil when I pruned them (with some rooting powder), and trimmed back the branches. Now it is full and lush!